Cicero : De Lege Agraria, 2

Sections 47-103

The translation is by J.H. Freese (1930). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.

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[18.] L   [47] You now see how many and what valuable things the decemvirs are allowed to sell by permission of this law. That is not enough. When they have gorged themselves with the blood of the allies, of foreign nations, and of kings, let them cut the sinews of the Roman people, let them lay hands on your revenues, let them break into the treasury. For next comes an article, which does not simply give permission, if there should happen to be a want of money (which can be got together in such quantities from the results of the previous articles that there ought to be no lack of it) but, just as if it were a question of your salvation, compels and orders the decemvirs to sell your lands which produce the revenues, mentioning them expressly by name. [48] Now read to me in order the list of the property of the Roman people to be sold by auction according to the text of the law ; and by Hercules! I think that the announcement of it will bring grief and bitterness to the crier himself. Just as with his own property, so in the case of the republic he is a luxurious rake - who sells his forests before his vineyards. ** You have gone through the property in Italy ; go on into Sicily. There is nothing in this province, of all that our ancestors have left us as our own either in the towns or lands, which Rullus does not order to be sold. [49] As for those possessions acquired by a recent victory, ** which your ancestors left to you, in the cities and on the frontiers of our allies, both as a guarantee of peace and a memorial of war, will you sell them at the bidding of this man after you have received them from them ?

Here, O Romans, I seem for a moment to make some impression on your feelings, while I reveal the snares which they think they have laid with complete secrecy against the honour of Gnaeus Pompeius. And I ask you to pardon me if I often mention this great man's name. Two years ago, ** in this same place, when I was praetor, you imposed upon me the part of sharing with you the task of keeping his dignity unimpaired during his absence in whatever way I could. Up to the present I have done all that was possible, although induced to do so neither by personal intimacy nor by hope of office, and that highest dignity to which - without his presence although not without his goodwill - I have attained by your favour. [50] Wherefore, since I see plainly that this law is almost entirely being set up as a battery to overthrow this man's power, I will both resist the designs of his enemies and I will assuredly enable all of you not only to see, but also to get a firm hold upon the plot which I see is being prepared. [19.] L   Rullus orders everything to be sold which belonged to the inhabitants of Attalia, Phaselis, Olympus, and the land of Agera, Oroanda, and Gedusa. ** These territories became yours by the victorious campaigns of the illustrious Publius Servilius. ** He adds the royal domains of Bithynia, of which the farmers of the revenue now have the enjoyment ; next the lands of Attalus in the Chersonese ** ; those in Macedonia, which belonged to Philip or Perses, and were also farmed out by the censors, and are a sure source of revenue. [51] He also includes in the sale the rich and fertile lands of Corinth and Cyrene, which belonged to Apion ** ; and sells the territories which you possess in Spain near Carthago Nova and in Africa old Carthage itself, which Publius Africanus I suppose consecrated, ** by the advice of his counsellors, ** not out of any religious respect for its dwellings and their antiquity, nor that the place itself might show traces of the disaster that overtook those who contended with Rome for the empire of the world. But Scipio was not so good a business man as Rullus is, or perhaps he was unable to find a purchaser for that place. However, to all these lands, taken in our ancient wars by the valour of our greatest commanders, he adds the royal lands of Mithridates in Paphlagonia, Pontus, and Cappadocia, in order that the decemvirs may sell them. Is it not so? [52] Without terms having been arranged, without the general's report having been heard, before the war is finished, while King Mithridates, without an army, driven from his kingdom, is nevertheless contemplating some new enterprise against us at the end of the world, ** and is defended from the invincible troops of Pompey by the Maeotis ** and those marshes, by those narrow defiles and lofty mountains ; while our commander is still engaged in war and even now the name of war is heard in those districts - shall the ten sell those lands, over which, according to the custom of our ancestors, Gnaeus Pompeius still ought to possess all civil and military authority ? [53] And, I suppose, Publius Rullus (for he behaves just as if he were already a decemvir-elect) will take very special care to set out for this sale. [20.] L   Obviously, too, before he reaches Pontus, he will send a letter to Gnaeus Pompeius, of which I think a copy has already been drawn up to the following effect: " Publius Servilius Rullus tribune of the plebs, decemvir, to Gnaeus Pompeius, son of Gnaeus, greeting." I do not suppose that he will add "Magnus," for it is not probable that he will accord him a title verbally which he is endeavouring to take away from him by the law. "I desire you to see that you attend me at Sinope without fail and bring an armed force, while I am selling the lands which you have conquered by your efforts by virtue of my law." Or will he not even invite Pompeius? will he sell the general's spoils in his province? Imagine Rullus in Pontus - between our camp and that of the enemy - with spear stuck in the ground, ** surrounded by his handsome surveyors - holding his auction. [54] Nor is this the only insult, although it is very extraordinary and unprecedented that anything won by war, when terms have not yet been arranged and the commander is still carrying on war, should be, I do not say sold, but even let. But these men have some further object than mere insult. If the enemies of Gnaeus Pompeius be allowed not only to wander about those districts with military authority, absolute jurisdiction, unlimited civil authority, and vast sums of money, but even to penetrate into the general's camp, they hope that some snare may be laid for him, and that his army, ** his resources, and his reputation may be diminished. They imagine that, if the army expects from Gnaeus Pompeius a gift of lands or other rewards, it will no longer do so, on seeing that the power of distributing all such favours is transferred to the decemvirs. [55] I am not annoyed that there are men so foolish as to have such hopes, and so impudent as to attempt to carry them out; what I do complain of is, that they had such contempt for me that they could be plotting such monstrous things, above all, during my consulship.

And in selling all these lands and buildings the decemvirs are allowed to sell them in whatever places they think fit. What irrational perversity ! what unbridled licentiousness ! what profligate and abandoned designs! [21.] L   It is not permitted to farm out the revenues anywhere except in this city, from this or that place, ** before you in a full assembly. Shall it be lawful for our property to be sold and alienated from us for ever in the obscurity of Paphlagonia or the deserts of Cappadocia ? [56] When Lucius Sulla sold at that fatal auction ** of his the goods of citizens who had not been condemned and pretended that what he was selling was his booty, he nevertheless sold it from the place where I am standing ; he did not venture to avoid the gaze of those in whose eyes he was hateful. Shall the decemvirs sell your revenues, O Romans, not only without your concurrence, but without even a public crier as a witness ?

Next follows : "all the lands ** outside Italy"; no limit of time being stated as before, "dating from the consulship of Sulla and Pompeius." It will be for the decemvirs to decide after inquiry whether the land is private or public ; and upon such land a heavy tax is imposed. [57] Who can help seeing what extensive, intolerable, and despotic judicial power this is - to be able, wherever they choose, without any discussion, without any legal assistance, to make what is private property public and to exempt from taxes what is public property ? In this article the Recentoric district in Sicily is excepted ; and the exception gives me great pleasure both on account of my close friendship with the inhabitants ** and because it is just. But what impudence it is! Those who occupy the Recentoric district defend themselves on the plea of long-standing occupation, not of right, relying on the sympathy of the senate, not on the nature of the land. For they confess that it is public land, but say that it would not be fair that they should be dispossessed and driven from their ancestral homes and household gods. And if the Recentoric district is private land, why do you except it? but if it is public, what kind of equity is it to allow other lands, even if private, to be adjudged public, and to except particularly by name one which is acknowledged to be public property ? ** Is then the land of those men to be excepted who have had influence with Rullus for some reason, ** while all the others, wherever they may be, without distinction, without any investigation by the Roman people, without the verdict of the senate, are to be handed over to the decemvirs ?

[22.] L   [58] And in the preceding article, which authorises the general sale, another lucrative exception is mentioned, which will cover those lands which are protected by a treaty. Rullus often heard this matter discussed in the senate and sometimes from this place, not by me but by others, that King Hiempsal ** possessed some lands on the sea-coast, which Publius Africanus assigned to the Roman people ; but that a guarantee was afterwards given to him concerning them by the consul Gaius Cotta. But because you did not order this treaty to be made, Hiempsal is afraid that it is not binding and ratified. However that may be, your judgement is done away with, the entire treaty is accepted and approved. In that it restricts the power of the decemvirs to sell, I approve of it; in that it guarantees a friendly king, I do not disapprove of it ; in that the transaction is not gratis, I feel indignant. [59] For I see fluttering before those men's eyes the king's son Juba, a youth whose full purse attracts not less than his flowing locks. Even now there hardly seems room to hold such great heaps of money ; he amplifies, adds, accumulates. "Of the gold and silver from booty, from spoils, from crown-gold, ** into whatever hands they have passed, and which have never been paid into the public treasury nor spent on a memorial," he orders a return to be made to the decemvirs and that it be placed at their disposal. According to this article, you see that even an investigation of the conduct of the most distinguished Roman generals and trial for extortion is transferred to the decemvirs. They will now have the power of judging what spoils each general has obtained, how much he has paid into the treasury, how much is left over; in future, all your commanders are ordered, by this law, when they leave their province, to send in a return to the same decemvirs of the amount of their booty, spoils, and crown-gold. [60] Yet this excellent man has excepted Gnaeus Pompeius, for whom he has such an affection. What is the origin of this totally unforeseen and sudden fondness? The man who is almost by name excluded from the decemvirate, who is deprived of the power of judging and proposing laws, of investigating the condition of the lands conquered by his valour, not only into whose province, but even into whose camp, decemvirs are sent with military authority, with unlimited sums of money, with absolute power and the right of deciding in all matters, from whom alone those rights of a general, which all generals have always enjoyed, are forcibly taken - that man alone is exempted by the law from making a return of the money from the sale of the spoils. Is the object of this article to pay honour to the man or to make him unpopular ?

[23.] L   [61] Pompeius rejects Rullus's offer; he has no use for the privileges afforded by such a law, nor for the generosity of the decemvirs. For if it is just that our generals should not employ their booty and spoils on monuments to the immortal gods nor for the embellishment of Rome, but should have to carry them away to the decemvirs as it were to their masters, then Pompeius wants nothing for himself in particular, nothing; he only wishes to live under the common law, under the same law as the rest. But if it is unjust, O Romans, if it is disgraceful, if it is intolerable that these decemvirs should be appointed tollmen ** over all the moneys of everybody, men to examine not only kings and men of foreign nations, but even your generals, it seems to me that Pompeius is not excepted to do him honour, but that his enemies are afraid that he may not be able to submit to the same insult as the rest. [62] But Pompeius's feelings are such that he thinks he must submit to whatever you approve of; but what you cannot submit to, he will certainly take care that you are not any longer compelled to submit to against your will. However, the law provides that, if any money is received from any new sources of revenue after our consulship, it shall be at the disposal of the decemvirs. Moreover, Rullus sees that any additions Pompeius makes will be new sources of revenue. Accordingly, he leaves the spoils to Pompeius, but thinks that he ought to enjoy the revenues obtained by his valour. Let the decemvirs possess all the money that there is in the world; let nothing be passed over ; let all cities, lands, kingdoms, and lastly, even your revenues be sold ; let the spoils obtained by your generals be added to the heap. You see what enormous and immense wealth is the object of the decemvirs in these sales on so large a scale, in all these decisions, in their absolute and unlimited powers.

[24.] L   [63] Now learn some other enormous and indefensible gains, and you will understand that the name of agrarian law so dear to the people has been sought out for this scheme merely in order to satisfy the insatiable avarice of certain individuals. Rullus orders lands to be bought, on which you may be settled as colonists. I am not in the habit, O Romans, of calling men by too harsh a name, unless I am provoked. I could wish it were possible that, without insulting them, those men who hope to be decemvirs themselves could be named ** by me; you would see at once what kind of men you would ils to have the power of buying and selling everything. [64] But what I think I ought not to mention yet, you can easily guess. There is one thing, however, which I certainly think I can say with perfect truth : at the time when the republic had men like the Luscini, Calatini, and Acidini? ** men not only distinguished by the honours conferred upon them by the people and their own achievements, but also by their patient endurance of poverty ; also during the lifetime of the Catos, the Phili, and the Laelii ** with whose wisdom and moderation in public, private, forensic, and domestic affairs you were well acquainted, no such power as this was ever given to anyone to act both as judge and seller, and that for a term of five years throughout the world ; to alienate the revenue ands of the Roman people and then, after having amassed so large a sum of money for himself, without any witness and according to his pleasure, finally to buy whatever seemed good to him from any whom he chose. [65] Entrust then now, O Romans, all these powers to these men whom you suspect of sniffing after ** this decemvirate ; you will find some of them who never think they have enough to keep, and others who never think they have enough to squander.

[25.] L   Here I do not even argue a point which is absolutely clear, O Romans - that our ancestors left us no such custom as that of buying lands from private persons, on which the common people might be settled as colonists ; that by all laws it was on public lands that private persons were settled. I confess that I expected some such statement from this boorish and truculent tribune of the plebs, but I have always considered this most lucrative and most disgraceful traffic in buying and selling inconsistent with the functions of a tribune, inconsistent with the dignity of the Roman people. [66] He orders lands to be bought. I first ask, what lands and where? I do not wish the Roman people to hesitate in suspense and uncertainty in regard to obscure hopes and blind expectation. There are the lands of Alba, Setia, Privernum, Fundi, Vescia, Falernum, Liternum, Cumae, Casilinum. ** I hear. Going out by the other gate, ** we have the territory of Capena, Falisci, Reate, Venafrum, Allifae, Trebula, and that of the Sabines. Your wealth is so great that you can not only buy these lands and others like them, but heap them all together; why do you not limit them and give their names, that the Roman people may at least be able to consider what its interest is, what is to its advantage, how much confidence it thinks ought to be given to you in the purchase and sale of things? I do definitely say Italy, says Rullus. A very clearly marked district! ** For how little difference does it make to you, gentlemen, whether you are settled at the foot of the Massic hill, or in Italy, ** or anywhere else? [67] Come, you do not define the spot; or, say, the nature of the soil? But, says he, the law says "land which can be ploughed or cultivated."   "Which can be ploughed or cultivated," he says, not which has been ploughed or cultivated. Is this a law, or an advertisement of a sale by Neratius, ** where they say it was written: * Two hundred iugera in which olives may be planted, three hundred iugera where a vineyard may be made." Is this what you intend to buy with such an enormous amount of money - land which can be ploughed or cultivated ? What soil is so poor and thin that it cannot be broken up by the plough, or what stony ground is so rough that a man cannot spend his labour in cultivating it ? "The reason," says he, "why I cannot mention any particular lands is because I shall not touch any land belonging to one who does not want to sell." This, O Romans, is far more lucrative than if he took it from one who did not want to sell. For there will be a consultation about profit entered into in connexion with your money, gentlemen ; and then, then only, will the land be bought when the same thing shall be advantageous to both purchaser and seller.

[26.] L   [68] But consider the force of this agrarian law. Even those who possess public lands will not give up possession unless they are tempted by very advantageous terms and a large sum of money. There is a wholly changed system. Formerly, when a tribune suggested an agrarian law, all who occupied public lands or had possessions which made them unpopular, ** immediately began to be alarmed. This law makes them wealthy and frees them from unpopularity. For how many people, O Romans, do you think there are who cannot defend the extent of their possessions, or cannot endure the unpopularity attached to the lands given by Sulla; who want to sell them but cannot find a purchaser ; who would, in fact, be glad to get rid of those fields on any terms whatever ? Those who a little while ago shuddered at the name of tribune day and night, who dreaded your violence, who trembled at the suggestion of an agrarian law, will now be themselves asked and entreated to hand over to the decemvirs, at whatever price they like, lands some of which are public, others which make the owners very unpopular and are full of danger to them. And this tribune of the plebs is singing this song, not for you, but for himself. ** [69] He has a father-in-law, an excellent man, who in those dark days laid his hands upon as much land as he coveted. It is to his help that Rullus wishes to come, now that he is giving way and crushed, weighed down by his Sullan burdens, so that by means of his law he may be allowed to lay down his unpopularity and to lay up his cash. And do you not hesitate to sell your revenues acquired by your ancestors at the cost of so much labour and bloodshed, in order to increase the wealth of those who have acquired the property confiscated by Sulla and to free them from danger? [70] For two kinds of lands, O Romans, are concerned in these purchases of the decemvirs. Of one of them the owners wish to get rid because of the unpopularity they cause, of the other because of their desolate condition. The lands which come from Sulla, very largely extended beyond their limits by certain persons, excite such indignation that they cannot endure it, if a genuine and courageous tribune of the plebs gives but one hiss. For all this land, at whatever price it is bought, will be charged to our account at a huge price. The other kind of lands, uncultivated owing to their barrenness, waste and abandoned owing to their pestilential unhealthiness, will be purchased from those who, if they find they cannot sell them, see that they must be abandoned. And beyond doubt this is the meaning of what was said by this tribune of the plebs in the senate, that the common people of the city had too much power in the republic; that they ought to be drained off. For this is the word that he used as if he were speaking of sewage instead of a class of estimable citizens. [27.] L   [71] But do you, Romans, if you will be guided by me, keep possession of the influence you enjoy, of your liberty, of your votes, of your dignity, of your city, of your forum, of your games, of your festivals, and all your other enjoyments; unless perhaps you prefer to abandon these privileges and this brilliant republic, and to settle in the dry sands of Sipontum or in the pestilential swamps of Salapia ** with Rullus for your leader. Or let him tell us what lands he intends to purchase; let him declare what he is going to give, and to whom. But after he has sold all your cities, lands, revenues, and kingdoms, tell me, I ask you, will you allow him to buy some tract of sand or marshes? Besides, it is an extraordinary thing that by this law everything is to be sold, the money is to be got together first and heaped up before a single clod of earth is bought. Then the law orders land to be bought, but without anyone being forced to sell. [72] I ask, if there are none who want to sell, what is to be done with the money ? The law forbids its being paid in to the treasury; it prohibits its being demanded from the decemvirs. So then the decemvirs will hold all the money, and no land will be bought for you ; your revenues will be transferred, your allies annoyed, kings and all nations exhausted ; they will have your money, you will have no lands. "It will be easy," says Rullus, "to induce them to sell by offering a large price." So then we see what the law means: we are to sell our property for as much as we can, and to buy other people's property at whatever price they choose to ask for it. [73] And the law orders colonies to be established by these decemvirs in the lands which are bought in accordance with it. What then? is every place of such a kind that it makes no difference to the republic whether a colony be established there or not, or is there a place which asks for a colony or which absolutely refuses it? In that class of places, as in other parts of the republic, it is worth while to remember the carefulness of our ancestors, who established colonies in suitable places in such a manner that guarded them against all suspicion of danger, so that they appeared to be not so much towns of Italy as bulwarks of an empire. These decemvirs will lead colonies into the lands which they have bought ; will they do so, even if it is not to the interest of the republic? [74] "And into whatever places besides it shall seem good to them." What then is to prevent them from settling a colony on the Janiculum and placing their garrison on our heads and necks? Are you not to specify where, into what places, with how many colonists you wish your colonies to be conducted? are you to seize any place which you have judged convenient for your deeds of violence, to fill it with such numbers, to strengthen it with such garrisons as you wish, to use the revenues and all the resources of the Roman people to coerce, crush the Roman people itself - to bring it under that decemviral sway and authority of yours? [28.] L   [75] I beg you, O Romans, to observe how he designs to invest and occupy the whole of Italy with his garrisons. He authorises the decemvirs to lead any citizens they choose into all the municipalities and colonies in the whole of Italy, and he orders lands to be assigned to those colonists. Is it not evident that greater resources than your liberty can tolerate and stronger defences are what he is looking for? is it not clear that a king is being set up, is it not clear that your liberty is being destroyed? For when the same men shall have all wealth, a vast population under their control, when the same men shall by their resources hold all Italy under siege, when they shall also have your liberty hemmed in by their garrisons and colonies, what hope, I ask you, what means of recovering your liberty will be left to you?

[76] But, we shall be told, the land of Campania, the most beautiful in the world, ** will be divided by this law, and a colony conducted to Capua, a very large and magnificent city. What can we say to this? In the first place, I will speak of your interest, O Romans; then I will return to the question of your honour and dignity : so that, if some are charmed by the fertility or excellence of the soil or town, they may not expect any profit from it, or if others are roused by the indignity of the matter, ** they may resist this pretended largesse. And first I will speak about the town, if perchance there is anyone here for whom Capua has a greater charm than Rome. Rullus orders 5,000 colonists to be enrolled for Capua; to make up this number each of the decemvirs is to choose 500. [77] I beg you, do not indulge false hopes ** ; consider the proposal carefully and in its real aspect. Do you think that there will be room among this number for you or for men like you, honourable, peaceful, fond of quiet? If there is room for you or even for the greater part of you, although the office that I owe to you bids me keep watch day and night and keep my eyes upon all parts of the republic, yet I am ready, if it be to your advantage, to wink at it for a while. But if a place and city, able to organise and make war, is being sought for for 5000 men, chosen with a view to violence, crime, and murder, will you nevertheless suffer their resources to be strengthened, their garrisons to be armed, cities, lands, and troops to be got ready to oppose you under cover of your name? [78] For they themselves have long coveted the territory of Capua which they promise to you ; they will conduct thither their own trusty friends, in whose name they may take possession of and enjoy it themselves. In addition, they will buy up allotments from the needy ; they will add their ten iugera to other ten iugera. If they say this is forbidden by the law, it certainly is by the Cornelian law ** ; and yet (not to go far away) we see that the whole district of Praeneste is owned by a few individuals. ** Nor can I see that these gentlemen want more wealth except farms to assist them in maintaining enormous households and bearing the expenses of country houses at Cumae and Puteoli. But if Rullus has your interest in view, let him come and discuss with me the division of the territory of Campania in your presence. [29.] L   [79] I asked him, on January 1, to whom, and how, he intended to distribute that land. He replied that he would begin with the Romilian tribe. ** In the first place, what is the meaning of the arrogant and insulting idea of cutting off part of the Roman people ** and upsetting the order of the tribes; of assigning land to the country people who have it already before the city people, to whom that hope of the enjoyment of land is held out as an inducement? or, if he denies what he said, and intends to satisfy all of you, let him bring forward his plan ; let him divide his allotments into ten iugera each and put forward your names from the tribe of Suburra to that of Arniensis. ** If you recognise, not only that ten iugera apiece cannot be allotted to you, but that so large a number of men could not even be packed into Campanian territory, will you still allow the republic to be harassed, the majesty of the Roman people to be flouted, and you yourselves to be deluded any longer by the tribune of the plebs ? [80] Even if part of this territory could be allotted to you, would you not prefer that it should remain a part of your patrimony ? Will you allow the one most beautiful estate belonging to the Roman people, the source of your wealth, the ornament of peace, the support in war, the basis of your revenues, the granary of the legions, your relief of the corn supply - will you allow it to perish? When all your other revenues failed you in the Italian war, ** have you forgotten how many armies you supported by the income from Campanian territory ? or do you not know that the other splendid revenues of the Roman people often depend upon a slight change of fortune or alteration of circumstances ** ? What will the harbours of Asia avail us, the grazing tax, ** and all the revenues overseas, ** if the least rumour of pirates or enemies is set on foot ? [81] But the revenues derived from Campanian territory have this advantage that they are safe at home and are protected by all our garrisons ; hence they are neither disturbed by wars, their produce does not vary, and is not liable to damage from weather or situation. Our ancestors not only refrained from diminishing what they had taken from the Campanians, but even bought up lands which were held by those who could not justly be deprived of it. For this reason neither the two Gracchi, who most earnestly had in mind the interests of the Roman plebeians, nor Lucius Sulla, who without any scruples gave away everything with a lavish hand to those whom he chose, ventured to lay hands on Campanian territory: Rullus came forward to expel the republic from that ownership of which neither the generosity of the Gracchi nor the absolute power of Sulla had dispossessed them ! [30.] L   That land which you now say is yours when you pass over it, that land which foreigners, whose way lies through it, hear belongs to you, when it has been divided [will neither be yours] nor be said to be yours. But who will be the owners? [82] In the first place, passionate men, always disposed for violence, ready for revolution, who, as soon as the decemvirs give the signal ** are capable of taking arms against the citizens and are ready to massacre them ; next, you will see the whole of the Campanian territory transferred to a few powerful and wealthy individuals. In the meantime, to you, who have received from your ancestors those fairest habitations of your revenues won by their valour, not a clod of earth will be left from your paternal and ancestral possessions. But how great will be the difference between the care you exercise and that of private individuals! When Publius Lentulus, ** who was princeps senatus, ** was sent into Campania to purchase, with public money, certain private property which ran into some public property, he is said to have reported that he had been unable to buy a certain man's estate at any price, and that the owner who was unwilling to sell had given as the reason why he could not be persuaded to do so, that, although he had several estates, this was the only one from which he had never had a bad report. [83] Is not this the case? this reason influenced a private individual; shall not the Roman people be affected when it is a question of handing over the Campanian territory to private individuals for nothing at the bidding of Rullus? But the Roman people can give just the same answer concerning this revenue that this private individual is reported to have given concerning his estate. For many years Asia brought you no revenue at the time of the Mithridatic wars ; the revenue of Spain was nothing during the revolt of Sertorius ** ; Manius Aquilius in the Servile war ** even lent corn to the cities of Sicily ; but there has never been a bad report of the revenues from Campania. The other revenues are ruined by the difficulties caused by war; those of Campania alone help to support even these difficulties. [84] Besides, in this allotting of lands, it cannot be said, as it can in regard to the rest, that lands ought not to be deserted by the people or lack the cultivation of free men. [31.] L   For I say that, if the Campanian territory be divided, the people will be driven out and expelled from the lands, not established and settled in them. For the whole Campanian territory is cultivated and possessed by members of the people of a most honest and unassuming kind; and this class of men of most excellent character, excellent both as farmers and soldiers, is to be entirely driven out by this demagogue and tribune of the plebs. ** And those unfortunate people, born and brought up in these lands, skilled in tilling the soil, will have nowhere to betake themselves at a moment's notice ; the possession of the Campanian territory will be entirely handed over to these robust, sturdy, and audacious henchmen of the decemvirs; and, as you now say of your ancestors, "Our ancestors left us this land," so your descendants will say of you, "Our fathers inherited this land from their fathers and they have lost it." [85] I indeed think that, supposing for the moment the Campus Martius were divided and two feet of standing room were assigned to each of you, still you would prefer to have the enjoyment of the whole in common than to have a small part of it as your own. Wherefore, even if some of this territory, which is promised to you but is really intended for others, should come to each of you, yet it would be more honourable for you to possess the whole in common than for each of you to have a portion. But as it is, since nothing comes to you but all is meant for others and is robbed from you, will you not most energetically resist this law, as if it were an armed enemy, in defence of your lands ?

Rullus adds the plain of Stella to the Campanian territory and assigns twelve iugera apiece in it to each colonist, as if indeed there were so little difference between the two! [86] But the truth is, Romans, that a very large number of men is needed to fill all these towns. For, as I have said before, the law allows the decemvirs to occupy with their own colonists such municipalities as they please, such old colonies as they please. They will fill the municipality of Cales, they will overwhelm Teanum, they will extend a chain of garrisons through Atella, Cumae, Neapolis, Pompeii, and Nuceria, but Puteoli, which is now independent and enjoys its liberty and has its own jurisdiction, will be occupied entirely by a new people and foreign forces. [32.] L   Then that standard of a Campanian colony, so formidable to our empire, will be planted in Capua by the decemvirs, then they will try to make a second Rome to oppose this Rome of ours, the common fatherland of us all. [87] It is to that town that these impious rascals are endeavouring to transfer our republic, that town in which our ancestors decided that no republican form of government should exist, being convinced that only three cities in the world - Carthage, Corinth, and Capua - could support the dignity and name of an imperial city. Carthage has been destroyed, because, from the vast number of its inhabitants, and the natural advantages of its situation, well furnished with harbours and fortified with walls, it seemed to jut out from Africa, and thus to threaten the most productive islands of the Roman people. Scarcely a vestige of Corinth remains. ** For its position was such on the straits and the entrance to Greece, that by land it held the keys of various places and almost united two seas, set over against each other ** especially for purposes of navigation, separated by a very small intervening space. These cities were far out of sight of our dominion, yet our ancestors not only overthrew them but, to prevent their recovery and rising again with renewed strength, as I said, they utterly destroyed them. [88] For a long time the lot of Capua was the subject of earnest discussion ; public records and several decrees of the senate are to be seen, O Romans. Our ancestors wisely decided that, if they deprived the Campanians of their territory, removed the magistrates, senate, and public council from that city and left no semblance of a republic, there would be no reason why we should be afraid of Capua. Accordingly you will find it written in ancient records that a city might exist to supply the means for the cultivation of Campanian territory, a place where the crops could be collected and stored, and in order that the labourers, fatigued by work in the fields, might make use of the houses in the city ; that that was the reason why the needful buildings were not destroyed.

[33.] L   [89] See what a world of difference there is between the counsels of our ancestors and the madness of these men! ** The former wished Capua to be a retreat for the labourers, a market for the country people, a store-room and granary for Campanian territory ; the latter, after the labourers have been driven out, after your profits have been wasted and squandered, intend to establish in this same Capua the seat of a new republic, and are preparing a mighty power to oppose the old. But if our ancestors had thought that, in so glorious an empire and in a people so admirably organised as the Romans, there would be found anyone like Marcus Brutus ** or Publius Rullus (for these are the only two men we have seen as yet who desired to transfer this republic entirely to Capua), they would certainly not have allowed the name of the city to remain. [90] But they thought that, even if they deprived Corinth and Carthage of their senate and magistrates and the citizens of their lands, there would be no lack of men to restore them and to change everything before we could hear of it; whereas in Campania, under the eyes of the senate and Roman people, no insurrection could occur which could not be put down and crushed before it definitely came to a head. And the event showed that those men, endowed with divine wisdom and foresight, were right. For, after the consulship of Quintus Fulvius and Quintus Fabius, ** during which Capua was subdued and taken, nothing has even been thought of in that city, much less done, that is against the interests of this republic. We have waged many wars since then with kings - Philip, Antiochus, Perses, Pseudo-Philippus, Aristonicus, Mithridates, and others, and in addition serious wars - against Carthage, Corinth, and Numantia ** ; there have been many internal dissensions, which I pass over; wars with our allies, with Fregellae ** and the Marsi. ** In all these internal and foreign wars Capua not only threw no obstacles in our way, but always showed herself most serviceable to us, both in providing material for war, equipping the troops, and giving them quarters in their houses and homes. [91] But at that time there were no men in the city to throw the government into confusion by seditious speeches, by turbulent decrees of the senate, by unjust exercise of authority, and to seek some excuse for revolution. For no one had the power of calling a meeting of the people or of holding a public council; the inhabitants were not carried away by the desire of glory, because, where no honours are publicly conferred, there desire of glory cannot exist; they were not disunited by rivalry or ambition. For there was no longer anything left to contend about, nothing they could aim at to the prejudice of another, nothing to cause disagreement. Therefore that Campanian arrogance and intolerable fierceness, thanks to the systematic prudence of our ancestors, gave place to the most indolent and slothful ease. Thus they avoided the reproach of cruelty by not wiping a most beautiful city off the face of Italy and they carefully provided for the future by leaving the city itself, after all its nerves had been cut out, impaired and weakened.

[34.] L   [92] These wise measures of our ancestors appeared to Marcus Brutus, as I stated before, deserving of blame, and also to Publius Rullus; nor do those omens and signs which were given to Brutus deter you, Rullus, from a similar madness. For both he who conducted a colony to Capua and those who received a magistracy there of his creation, as well as those who took any part in that colonising, or received any office or distinction, all underwent the most terrible punishment of the impious. And since I have mentioned Brutus and those times, I will relate what I saw myself when I reached Capua, at the time when the colony had just been established by Lucius Considius and Sextus Saltius, "praetors" (as they called themselves), so that you may understand what pride the very place inspires, as could be clearly seen and understood within a few days of the colony being established. [93] In the first place, as I have said, whereas in all the other colonies the magistrates are called duumviri, those of Capua desired that they should be called praetors. If their first year of office had created this desire in them, do you not think that in a few years they would have been eager for the title of consuls? Next, they were preceded by two lictors, not with staves, but with fasces, like those who precede our praetors in Rome. ** The greater victims ** stood in the forum, waiting until these praetors from their tribunal had inspected them, as is done by us consuls after they have been advised by the college of priests, and were then sacrificed to the sound of flutes and the proclamation of the herald. Afterwards the conscript fathers were summoned. The haughty look of Considius was now almost intolerable. When the man, "emaciated and shrivelled up," ** whom we saw in Rome despised and abject, appeared to us in Capua with Campanian haughtiness and kingly arrogance, I thought I was looking at one of the Blossii or Vibellii. ** [94] And how frightened the vulgar ** were ! what a running to and fro of people on the Alban and Seplasian roads, wanting to know the terms of the praetor's edict, where he was supping, where he had announced he was going. ** But we, who had just arrived from Rome, were now not called guests, but strangers and foreigners! [35.] L   [95] Those who foresaw these things - I mean our ancestors, O Romans - ought surely to be venerated and worshipped by us among the immortal gods. For what did they see? That which I beg you yourselves now to consider and acknowledge. It is not so much by blood and race that men's characters are implanted in them as by those things which are supplied to us by nature itself to form our habits of life, by which we are nourished and live. The Carthaginians were given to fraud and lying, not so much by race as by the nature of their position, because owing to their harbours, which brought them into communication with merchants and strangers speaking many different languages, they were inspired by the love of gain with the love of cheating. The Ligurians being mountaineers are hardy rustics; the land itself has taught them, since it produces nothing except by dint of intensive cultivation and much toil. The Campanians have always been proud, owing to the fertility of their lands, the abundance of their crops, the healthiness, arrangement, and beauty of their city. It is this abundance, this affluence of everything, which is the origin of that Campanian arrogance which made them demand from our ancestors that one of the consuls should be chosen from Capua, and next of that luxury which vanquished by pleasure Hannibal himself, whom arms had been unable to conquer. [96] When those decemvirs have settled 500 colonists there according to the law of Rullus, when they have set up 100 decurions, ** ten augurs, and six priests, imagine their state of mind, their vehemence, their ferocity! They will laugh at and despise Rome, planted in mountains and deep valleys, its garrets hanging up aloft, its roads none of the best, by-ways of the narrowest, in comparison with their own Capua, spread out in a vast and open plain and most beautifully situated. ** Our Vatican and Pupinian fields will certainly appear not fit to be compared with their rich and fertile plains. The number of towns that are our neighbours they will compare in jest and scorn with theirs - Labici, Fidenae, Collatia, Lanuvium itself, Aricia, Tusculum, will be compared with Cales, Teanum, Neapolis, Puteoli, Cumae, Pompeii, and Nuceria. [97] Elated and puffed up by these ideas, perhaps not at once, but certainly, if they last a little while and grow strong, there will be no restraining them ; they will advance and sweep everything before them. A private individual, unless he be gifted with rare wisdom, can hardly confine himself within the limits and boundaries set by duty in the midst of wealth and great resources ; with all the more reason those colonists, sought out and chosen by Rullus and men like him, when set up at Capua in the abode of pride and the seats of luxury, will at once seek to commit some crime and wickedness. Indeed, they will be even more violent than those old genuine Campanians, because if they, born and brought up in the midst of a fortune that had long been theirs, were corrupted by an excessive supply of everything, the new generation, transferred from a condition of extreme poverty to one of opulence, will be excited not only by its abundance but also by its novelty.

[36.] L   [98] You, Publius Rullus, have preferred to follow the footprints of the crime ** of Marcus Brutus rather than the memorials of the wisdom of our ancestors. You and your supporters have thought out a plan ** to plunder our old revenues, to find out new ones, and to oppose a new city to Rome to rival her dignity, to bring beneath your laws, sway, and authority cities, nations, provinces, free peoples, kings, in fact, the whole world; in order that, when you have drained all the money from the treasury, collected everything from the revenues, exacted as much as you can from all kings, peoples, and our generals, they may still have to pay you money at your nod; that, after buying lands, some from the Sullan occupiers, which cause odium, others desolate and plague-stricken from kinsfolk and even yourselves, you might plant them on the Roman people at whatever price you like; that you might occupy all the municipalities and colonies of Italy with new colonists, and found colonies wherever and in as many places as you please; [99] that you might surround the entire republic with your soldiers, cities, and garrisons, and keep it crushed; that you might be able to outrage Pompeius himself, whose protection the State has very often made use of against most vigorous enemies and most worthless citizens, and deprive him of the sight of these men ** ; that there might be nothing, which can be tampered with gold and silver, corrupted by numbers or votes, or broken through by force and violence, which you should not seize and hold under your thumb; that you might in the meantime roam over all nations and kingdoms with supreme military authority, unlimited jurisdiction, and vast sums of money; that you might enter the camp of Gnaeus Pompeius, and sell the camp itself, if it were advantageous to you ; that in the meantime, unhampered by any law, without being afraid of any court of justice, without any risk, you might be able to summon the other magistrates before you ; that no one should be able to bring you before the Roman people, summon you to court, compel you to attend the senate, and that no consul should be able to control you, no tribune of the plebs to put a check upon you.

[100] I am not surprised, considering your folly and lack of restraint, that you have desired these privileges, but I am amazed that you should have hoped to attain them as long as I was consul. For as it is the duty of every consul to exercise the most serious care and attention in protecting the republic, so it is especially incumbent upon those who have been made consuls, not in their cradles but in the campus. ** None of my ancestors were sureties for me to the Roman people ; credit was given to me; it is from me that you ought to claim what I owe you, and to call upon me. Just as, when I was a candidate, none of my ancestors recommended me to you, so, if I am guilty of any fault, I shall have none of their images to intercede with you on my behalf. [37.] L   Wherefore, provided that life lasts long enough, which I will endeavour ** to defend from these men's wickedness and snares, I promise you this, O Romans, in all good faith ; you have entrusted the republic to a man who is watchful and not timid, active and not idle. [101] Am I a consul to fear an assembly of the people, to dread a tribune of the plebs, to be greatly agitated frequently and without reason, to be afraid of going to live in a prison, if a tribune ** give orders or me to be taken thither? I, since I am armed with your arms and equipped with the most honourable insignia of my office, with your command and authority, I am not afraid to be able to come forward upon this tribunal and, with you to support me, to resist the wickedness of this man, and I have no fear that the republic, fortified by such strong protectors, can be conquered or crushed by men like these. If I might have been afraid before, this assembly, this people would certainly have banished my fears. For who ever found an assembly so favourable to him in persuading an agrarian law as I in dissuading it - if this is "to dissuade" and not rather to demolish and overthrow it? [102] From this you can understand, O Romans, that there is nothing so desired by the people as that which I, a consul who is a true friend of the people, offer you for this year - peace, tranquillity and quiet. By resolution and judgement I have taken steps to prevent what you feared might happen when we were elected consuls. You will not only enjoy tranquillity as you have always wished, but I will also make those, who hate quiet, most peaceful and full of ease. For it is out of disturbance and civil dissensions that such men usually acquire honours, power, and wealth. You, whose influence is based on your votes, your liberty on the laws, your rights on the justice of the courts and the equity of the magistrates, and your property on peace, you ought to preserve your ease by all possible means. ** [103] For if those who owing to inactivity live in quiet still take pleasure in their disgraceful indolence from that quiet itself, how fortunate will you be, if in this condition which you enjoy you hold fast to this quiet, not sought for by sloth but obtained by your own valiant exertions. Owing to the unanimity which I have established between myself and my colleague, ** to the great dislike of those men who said that we were and would be enemies to them ** during our consulship, I have wisely made provision for and taken precaution against all emergencies, and tried to bring those men back to their allegiance. I have also given the tribunes notice not to stir up sedition during my consulship. But the greatest and strongest support of our common fortunes, O Romans, will be that you should show yourselves in all future times of the republic such as you have shown yourselves to me to-day in this great assembly for your own safety. I undertake, I promise you in all sincerity that I will secure that finally those who were jealous of the honour conferred upon me will yet confess that all of you showed the greatest wisdom in your choice of a consul.

De Lege Agraria, 3


51.(↑)   The praeco had already read out the part of the law in which the Silva Scantia is put down for sale.

52.(↑)   In 101 Manius Aquilius the consul put down a revolt of the slaves under Athenion in Sicily and thus increased the possessions of the Roman people. There may perhaps be a reference to some recent achievement of Pompeius.

53.(↑)   Referring to his speech De imperio Gnaei Pompei.

54.(↑)   Attalia was in Pamphylia, Phaselis and Olympus in Lycia, Oroanda in Pisidia. Agera and Gedusa are unknown.

55.(↑)   P. Servilius Vatia, consul 79 B.c., sent as proconsul to Cilicia. From his victory over the Isauri, he was given the surname of Isauricus. He fought in Pamphylia and the neighbouring countries.

56.(↑)   Belonging to the king of Pergamum. The last Attalus (138-133 B.C.) bequeathed his property to the Roman people: cf. Horace, Odes, i. 1. 12 "Attalicis conditionibus" of his wealth and private property.

57.(↑)   King of Cyrene, who in 96 B.C. also bequeathed his kingdom to the Roman people.

58.(↑)   Its cultivation by men was thereby forbidden, as being by tradition sacred to Juno.

59.(↑)   Ten commissioners, who together with the victorious general arranged the constitution of a conquered country in the form of a province.

60.(↑)   He gathered together an army in Scythia, intending to carry the war into Italy.

61.(↑)   Sea of Azov.

62.(↑)   See I. ii. 6.

63.(↑)   By tampering with the loyalty of his soldiers.

64.(↑)   Hoc, the Rostra; illo, some other building in whose direction Cicero points - the temple of Castor is suggested or a basilica.

65.(↑)   Only the goods of those who had been put to death were sold.

66.(↑)   That is, public land.

67.(↑)   Cicero had been quaestor at Lilybaeum.

68.(↑)   This passive use is very rare. We might translate, "which (i.e. the inhabitants of which) acknowledges itself to be public property."

69.(↑)   Meaning that he was bribed by them.

70.(↑)   King of Numidia, who was restored by Pompey in 81 to his kingdom, of which he had been dispossessed.

71.(↑)   See I. iv. 12.

72.(↑)   'Portitores' : custom-house officers, who examined people's baggage to see if they had anything liable to duty. The verb for such an examination is excutere, literally, to shake a person's garments (cf. Pro Roscio Amerino, § 97 "non executio te si quid forte ferri habuisti").

73.(↑)   The emphasis is on the name; to name them would bring them into contempt.

74.(↑)   C. Fabricius Luscinus, consul 282 and 278 B.C., fought against Pyrrhus, king of Epirus. He was famous for his frugal mode of life.   A. Atilius Calatinus, consul 258 and 254 B.C., fought in the first Punic War. When sent for by the senate, he was found sowing his land.   L. Manlius Acidinus, a Roman general in the second Punic War. Consul 179 B.Cc.

75.(↑)   M. Porcius Cato the censor, consul 195 B.C., the bitter enemy of Carthage and a rigid moralist.   L. Furius Philus, consul 136 B.C., a man of learning and Greek student.   C. Laelius, consul 140 B.C., a learned man and friend of Scipio Africanus the younger.

76.(↑)   Odorari: "to sniff after," like a dog.

77.(↑)   South of Rome.

78.(↑)   North of Rome.

79.(↑)   Said ironically.

80.(↑)   There are various conjectures instead of 'Italiam', but they do not seem necessary. Italy is vague and indefinite, while the other places are definite,

81.(↑)   An auctioneer,

82.(↑)   Referring to those who had bought the property of the proscribed.

83.(↑)   He is seeking his own interest, not yours, "looking after number one." 'Intus canere' is explained as "to sing on the inner side of the cithara," that is, to oneself; or said of a player when he touched the strings with his left hand so lightly that only he and his nearest neighbours could hear.

84.(↑)   Both Sipontum and Salapia were in Apulia.

85.(↑)   Orbi: ablative.

86.(↑)   The proposed division of Capua.

87.(↑)   Do not console yourselves with the idea that Capua will revert to the Roman people.

88.(↑)   One of Sulla's laws. In addition to holding Campanian land in the name of others, the decemvirs will buy up the allotments, will add ten iugera to another ten, and so become possessors of large estates. The law, like the Cornelian law of Sulla (by which assignations of land were made), apparently was to forbid the sale of the allotments.

89.(↑)   It was given to them by Sulla, who put the inhabitants of Praeneste to death for having given refuge to the younger Marius.

90.(↑)   The first of the tribus rusticae, which followed the four tribus urbanae and was therefore the fifth in order.

91.(↑)   The tribus urbanae.

92.(↑)   Suburra was the first of the tribus urbanae ; Arniensis (the tribe of the Arno), the last of the tribus rusticae.

93.(↑)   The Social War, 90-88 B.C.

94.(↑)   Others translate: "variation of the seasons."

95.(↑)   'Scriptura' : Clark reads 'Syriae ora'. But Syria had only just become a Roman province and could not have been the source of much revenue as yet.

96.(↑)   The Ionian Sea, with special reference to the province of Asia.

97.(↑)   Concrepuerint: literally snap their fingers, a common way of summoning a slave.

98.(↑)   Consul 162 B.C., grandfather of one of the Catilinarian conspirators.

99.(↑)   The member whose name the censors inscribed first on the list of senators.

100.(↑)   80-72 B.C. Q. Sertorius was a Marian general, who for a long time resisted the Sullans in Spain; he was finally assassinated.

101.(↑)   101-99 B.C. The revolting slaves ( fugitivi) gave themselves two kings, Tryphon and Athenion ; they successfully opposed three praetors, until the war was finally ended by Aquilius, who slew Athenion with his own hand.

102.(↑)   These plebeians were "in possession" of the land, which they rented.

103.(↑)   See I. i. 5.

104.(↑)   This is the literal meaning of 'diversus'.

105.(↑)   Note the intentional repetition of 'inter' and compounds.

106.(↑)   Supposed to be the father of Caesar's murderer and the tribune mentioned in Pro Quinctio (§ 65).

107.(↑)   209 B.C. Livy says, two years earlier (Cn. Fulvius Centumalus and P. Sulpicius Galba, consuls).

108.(↑)   Famous for its stubborn resistance to the younger Scipio Africanus (134 B.C.).

109.(↑)   A Volscian town on the Liris, which fought for Rome against Hannibal. In 125 it revolted against Rome and was destroyed by Opimius.

110.(↑)   A Sabellian race, who took the chief part in the Social War waged by the Italian allies to obtain the Roman franchise, which was probably also the cause of the revolt of Fregellae.

111.(↑)   They were preceded by lictors, not with wands of office alone without axes, but with two bundles of rods, with which axes were fastened together.

112.(↑)   Those which were not sucklings.

113.(↑)   A. E. Housman (in a short article in Journal of Philology, xxxii. 1913) suggests that the words 'vegrandi macie torridum' (apparently a quotation from an old play) are the result of a wrong division of 'vegrande macre torridum' (with change of e and r to 4) and should really be 'vegrandem ac retorridum', "stunted and wizened."

114.(↑)   Patriotic Capuans, who resisted the Romans.

115.(↑)   The common people who wore the tunica instead of the toga.

116.(↑)   'Quo denuntiasset'. The ms. reading 'quid enuntiasset' may be translated, "what he had declared to be his wish by his edict."

117.(↑)   The senate of the municipia and coloniae (cf. Pro Roscio Amerino, ix. 25).

118.(↑)   'Praeclarissime sita' : Baiter's conjecture for the corrupt 'prae illis semitis'.

119.(↑)   His attempt to colonize Capua.

120.(↑)   Note the repetition of '-etis' to produce a harsh effect,

121.(↑)   Either the citizens whom Cicero is now addressing, or Pompeius's victorious army, who might be incited to revolt.

122.(↑)   The Campus Martius, where the comitia centuriata were held. "In their cradles," those destined to be elected as soon as they were born owing to their ancestors' merits.

123.(↑)   Translating Clark's suggested correction, 'conabor'.

124.(↑)   The tribunes could order any magistrate to prison except a dictator.

125.(↑)   The whole of this passage down to 'revocavi' is hopelessly corrupt, and the various alterations are guesswork. The text is, with one or two exceptions, that of Baiter.

126.(↑)   Gaius Antonius Hybrida, a man of indifferent character.

127.(↑)   Or, "enemies to each other."

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