Cicero : Pro Flacco

Sections 1-51

This speech was delivered for L. Valerius Flaccus, in 59 B.C.

The translation is by L.E. Lord (1937). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.

[1.] L   [1] When, amid the gravest dangers to this city and empire, in a very important and serious crisis of the state, I saved you, your wives, and your children from death, the temples, the shrines, the city, and Italy from devastation, with the aid and assistance in my counsels and my perils of Lucius Flaccus, I hoped, gentlemen, that I should assist Lucius Flaccus in gaining honour ** rather than intercede for him in misfortune. For what preferment in office would there be which the Roman people would refuse to this man, when it had always granted such preferment to his ancestors, ever since the time when Lucius Flaccus revived in the state after almost five hundred years the ancient glory won by the Valerian family in freeing our fatherland ? ** [2] But if by chance at some time there had been someone to belittle his services, to hate his uprightness, to envy his praise, I should have expected that an ignorant mob would be made the judge of Lucius Flaccus (with no risk to himself however) and not the choicest and wisest spirits of our nation. For I never thought that anyone would bring threats and plots against the fortunes of this man with the assistance of these very men who were then the authors and defenders of the salvation not only of all our citizens, but of all nations. But if at some time it were to come to pass that someone would plan the destruction of Lucius Flaccus, still I never thought, gentlemen, that Decimus Laelius, the son of a very honourable gentleman, himself possessed of the best of prospects, would undertake for the sake of his own advancement a prosecution which befitted the hatred and madness of debased citizens rather than his own virtue and the promise of his youth. For since I had often seen distinguished men lay aside well-justified quarrels with respected citizens, I did not think that any friend of the state would, unprovoked, begin a quarrel with Lucius Flaccus, after his devotion to our country had been clearly seen. [3] But since, gentlemen, we have been many times disappointed both in our private affairs and in public, we are bearing what must be borne ; we ask of you only that you should think that all the foundations of the state, the whole fabric of the government, all the memory of times that are past, the safety of the present and the hope of the future, are fixed and placed in your power, in your decision, in this one trial. If ever the state asked for prudence, seriousness, wisdom in her judges, now, now I say, she asks for them. [2.] L   Your decision will be given, not on the state of the Lydians, or the Mysians or the Phrygians, who have come hither bribed and suborned, but on your own state, on the fabric of government, the common safety, the hope of all honourable men, if any hope even now remains to buoy up the minds and thoughts of brave citizens ; every other refuge for honourable men, the protection of the innocent, the foundations, plans, supports, laws of the state have perished. [4] For whom should I address, whom invoke, whom implore ? The senate ? But the senate itself is asking aid of you, and knows that the enforcement of its authority has been placed in your keeping. The Roman knights ? Fifty ** of you, chief men of this order, will make that decision in which you and all the others feel alike. The Roman people ? But they have delegated to you all their powlr over us. Therefore, unless in this place, unless with you and through you, gentlemen, we retain, not our authority, which has been lost, but our safety, of which there is but a slight and tenuous hope, we have no other refuge to which we may flee ; unless perhaps, gentlemen, you do not see what is being tested in this trial, what is at stake, for whom the foundations of the case are being laid. [5] He ** has been condemned who slew Catiline when he was leading troops against his country ; then why should not he who drove Catiline from the city be afraid ? He ** is hurried to punishment who secured the evidence of the universal plot ; why should he ** feel any confidence who took care that these things should be brought to light and disclosed ? Those who shared his counsels, his assistants and comrades, are being attacked ; what may the authors, the leaders, the chief men, expect ? And would that those who are my enemies and the enemies of all the honourable men with me would judge ** whether all our good men were at that time leaders or comrades for preserving the common safety . . .

{ Fragments found by Cardinal Angelo Mai in a Vatican manuscript }

He prefers to say they were strangled. **

What does my friend Caetra ** wish ?

What about Decianus ? **

Would that it were really mine ! The senate therefore, chiefly . . . **

Ye immortal gods, I say . . . Lentulus . . .

{ The Milan fragment }

. . . of strangers, ** since his private life and character were well known. And so I will not allow you, Decimus Laelius, to assume this and . . . this rule and regulation for others in the future, for us at present . . .

When you shall brand his youth, when you shall stain the rest of his life with the smirches of disgrace, when you shall drag to light the ruin of his private fortunes, his personal shame, his infamous conduct in the city, the crimes and outrages committed in Spain, Gaul, Cilicia, Crete, provinces in which he played no obscure part, then finally we shall learn what the people of Tmolus and Loryma ** think of Lucius Flaccus. But that man whom so many important provinces hope will be saved, whom very many citizens from all Italy, united to him by bonds of longstanding friendship, are defending, whom our country, the mother of us all, is holding in her embrace because of the memory of his impressive service recently rendered her, him I shall protect and defend though all Asia demands his punishment. What ? Further, suppose all Asia is not making the demand, nor through the best people, nor those who are themselves incorrupt ; what if they are not acting of their own will, nor in accord with law and custom, nor with truth, nor righteously and honourably ? If dishonestly, if at the request and instigation of others, if under compulsion, if dishonourably, without due consideration, inspired by greed, or capriciously, Asia has allowed her name to be invoked in this trial by poverty-stricken witnesses, while she can make no truthful complaint of her injuries ; still, are these statements, gentlemen, heard for only a brief time, nevertheless to disparage the reputation for deeds that are known over a long period of years ? Therefore I shall as his advocate follow the course which his opponent avoids and I shall attack and pursue his prosecutor and of my own accord demand an accusation from any opponent. What of this, Laelius ? Did these . . . anything ... for he was not in retirement nor did he engage in the training and the pursuits customary at his age ? For as a youth he went to war under his father, the consul. Of course, because even under this very head . . . something . . .

{ Fragments found by Cardinal Angelo Mai in a Vatican manuscript }

But if neither the gaiety of Asia the most susceptible time of his life. . . .

At this time of his life he transferred to the army of his uncle Gaius Flaccus.

He set out as a military tribune with the very distinguished and honourable citizen Publius Servilius.

Honoured by their most favourable opinions he was elected quaestor.

From Marcus Piso, who would have himself won the surname Frugi {Honest} if he had not accepted it, and himself hatched . .

He also undertook and concluded a new war.

Delivered over, not to the witnesses from Asia, but to the intimate associates of his prosecutor . . .

{ Fragments from the manuscript of Nicolas of Cusa }

A very shifty man well practised in deceit.

What is there in your testimony save wantonness, effrontery, madness, when the victory itself of the very brave and distinguished man is a witness ?

And no mean excellence in arms, gentlemen.

I am defending a brave and noble man, a man of great spirit, unusual industry, excellent wisdom.

Engaged in many wars of various character from youth up, both a particularly good leader and a man - to speak truly - born and equipped, by his physique, his disposition, his interests and his habits for the exigencies of war and military science.

Our ancestors thought, gentlemen, that this class of men should be shown so much consideration that they defended them, not only when they were in an invidious position, but even when they were in the wrong ; so they were wont not only to reward their meritorious actions, but also to pardon their faults

Rise, I pray you, noble men, brave envoys of a state most splendid and most honoured, by the immortal gods resist the lies and the insults of those men whose weapons you have many times withstood.

A man possessed of all the rewards of virtue and fame who seems to me to be preserved in the state by divine providence, one may say, as a pattern of old-time dignity and a memorial of a bygone age.

How kind do you think he was to the Roman people - how faithful ?

Frivolity is a matter of birth, deceit of education.

[3.] L   [6] And so, Laelius, on what grounds are you attacking this man ? He was military tribune under Publius Servilius in Cilicia. No mention is made of this. He was quaestor to Marcus Piso in Spain. Not a word is uttered about his quaestorship. He had a large share in the war in Crete, ** and bore the brunt of it along with a very illustrious general. ** Accusation is mute about that service. His administration of justice as praetor - a varied task open in many ways to suspicion and hatred - is not mentioned. On the contrary, at a time fraught with the very gravest danger to the state this same praetorship is praised even by his enemies. But, you object, it is attacked by the witnesses. Before I say who these witnesses are, by what hope, what compulsion, what method procured, what fickleness, what poverty, what treachery, and what boldness they possess, I will speak of their general character and of the situation in which we all are. By the immortal gods, gentlemen, - will you inquire of unknown witnesses how he administered justice in Asia the year after he administered justice in Rome, and make no judgement from probability yourselves ? In such a varied administration of justice, when there were so many edicts, when the wishes of so many influential men were thwarted, what, I will not say suspicion (it is usually false), but what expression of anger or grief was ever uttered ? [7] And is he accused of avarice, who in the midst of luxury avoided unjust profit, who in a state given over to slander, in a business most subject to suspicion, escaped all slander, to say nothing of a criminal charge ? I omit to mention other things that really should not be omitted - that no act of greed committed by him in private relations, no dispute over financial affairs, no stain on his private life, can be produced. What witnesses can I produce to refute these men except you ? [8] Shall that villager from Tmolus - unknown not only to us but even to his neighbours - teach you what sort of a man is Lucius Flaccus ? A man whom you have known as the most sedate of youths, whom the most important provinces have known as an upright man, your armies as a very brave soldier, a most energetic leader, a most reasonable legate and quaestor, a man whom you of your own knowledge have judged to be a most conscientious senator, a very just praetor and a citizen most devoted to the state ? [4.] L   [9] Will you listen to other witnesses about those matters regarding which you yourselves should be witnesses to others ? But what witnesses are they ? First I will say this - it applies to all of them - they are Greeks. It is not that I alone would especially impugn the honour of that people. For if anyone of our people was ever not unsympathetic to that race in interest and disposition, I think that I am, and that I was even more so while I had more leisure. But there are among them many honourable, learned, wise men, who have not been brought to this trial , there are many shameless, ignorant, shifty men, who have, I see, been instigated for various reasons. Still this I can say of the whole race of Greeks : I grant them literature, I grant them a knowledge of many arts, I do not deny the charm of their speech, the keenness of their intellects, the richness of their diction ; finally, if they make other claims I do not deny them, but truth and honour in giving testimony that nation has never cherished ; the meaning, the importance, the value of this whole matter they know not. [10] Whence comes that saying, "Testify for me and I'll testify for you" ? It isn't thought to be Gallic, is it ? or Spanish ? It is so entirely Greek that even those who do not understand Greek know the Greek words for this expression. ** So see with what an expression, with what effrontery, they speak ; then you will understand with what regard for truth they speak. They never answer our questions ; for the prosecutor they always answer more than they are asked , they never trouble to prove what they say but only to make a display of themselves by talking. Marcus Lurco gave evidence, incensed against Flaccus because, as he himself said, his freedman had been convicted in a case involving disgrace. He gave no evidence which would harm him, though he desired to do so, for his regard for truth prevented him. Still, that which he did say, with what earnestness did he say it ! How he trembled ! How pale he became ! [11] What an impulsive man is Publius Septimius, how angry he was about the trial and about his steward ! Yet he kept hesitating, and his respect for truth continually conquered his anger. Marcus Caelius was Flaccus's enemy because he had been stricken from the list of arbiters - Caelius had thought it wrong for a tax-collector to sit in judgement on a tax-collector in a perfectly clear case. Still he controlled himself and brought to the trial nothing to harm Flaccus except the desire to do so.

[5.] L   If these men had been Greeks, and if our habits and training had not prevailed over their resentment and hatred, they would all have affirmed that they had been despoiled, persecuted, turned out of their property. A Greek witness takes the stand with the intention of doing harm, he does not think of the worth of his oath but of words that may injure ; to be beaten, to be refuted, to be worsted in an argument, he regards as a disgrace ; he protects himself against this and cares for naught else. So it is that each witness selected is not the best and most influential man but the most pert and most talkative. [12] But you, even in a private case of the least importance, scrutinise the witness carefully ; even if you are acquainted with his appearance, his name, his tribe, still you think you should examine his character. Moreover, when anyone of our nation gives testimony, how he restrains himself, how he weighs all his words, how he fears that he may say something prompted by desire or by anger, that he may say more or less than is necessary ! You do not think they are like that, do you, these men to whom an oath is a joke ; testimony, a game ; reputation, empty shadows ; for whom fame, profit, favour, goodwill all depend on shameless lying ? But I will not expand my speech ; it would never come to an end if I cared to describe completely the untrustworthiness of this whole people in the giving of testimony. But I will come to closer grips I will speak of our own witnesses.

[13] We have an energetic prosecutor, gentlemen, and a foe in every way vindictive and bitter. I hope because of this energy he will be of great use to both his friends and the state ; but certainly he was inflamed with an unbelievable cupidity when he undertook this case and this prosecution. What a crowd engaged in the investigation ! I say a crowd, I should have said what an army, what an outlay, what expense, what a lavish distribution ! Although these things are helpful for my case, still I speak with reserve, because I fear that Laelius may think that by my speech some criticism and envy has been directed against him because of the things which he undertook for the sake of winning distinction.

[6.] L   So I shall omit all that part, I shall only ask of you, gentlemen, that if you have heard any rumour and loose talk about violence, force, arms, and troops, you will remember it ; because of the ill-feeling resulting from these things a new law recently passed has fixed the number of participants allowed to a commission collecting evidence. [14] But to pass over this violence, how important were those acts which we are forced to deplore though we cannot condemn them, since they were done in accordance with the privilege and practice common to prosecutors ! First, because by parcelling out the country the report was spread through all Asia that Gnaeus Pompeius, because he was a violent enemy of Lucius Flaccus, had urged Laelius, a friend and close connexion of his father, to bring Flaccus to this trial, and that he used all his influence, favour, power, and resources to accomplish this end. This seemed more plausible to Greeks, because a little while before in this same province they had seen Laelius on familiar terms with Flaccus. Besides, the influence of Pompeius, while, it was as great with all as it should be at that time, was pre-eminent in that province which he had lately set free by defeating the pirates and the kings. ** Another means employed to inspire terror was a threat to subpoena those who did not wish to leave home. Those who were bankrupt he encouraged by a liberal and generous travelling allowance. [15] So this resourceful young man influences the rich by fear, the poor by bribes, the fools by deception. So were extracted those notable resolutions ** which are offered in evidence - resolutions not supported by votes nor by constituted authority nor sanctioned by oath, but decided by a show of hands and the vociferous howls of an excited mob.

[7.] L   What a glorious custom and practice we inherited from our forefathers - if only we had retained it ! But somehow or other it is now slipping from our hands. No, gentlemen ! they were wise and scrupulous men, and they gave no power to the mass meeting, such was their will. The commons passed their bill, the people passed their law ; but first the mass meeting was dismissed, areas were assigned, orders, classes, ages were apportioned separately in their own tribes and centuries, the supporters of the act were heard, the text was published and studied for weeks - then whatever those two bodies passed as law was commanded or forbidden - such was their will. [16] But all the states of the Greeks are managed by irresponsible seated ** assemblies And not to discuss this later Greece, which has long been troubled and vexed by its own devices, that older Greece, which once was so notable for its resources, its power, its glory, fell because of this defect alone - the undue freedom and irresponsibility of its assemblies. Untried men, without experience in any affairs and ignorant, took their places in the assembly and then they undertook useless wars, then they put factious men in charge of the state, then they drove most deserving citizens out of the country. [17] But if these things were wont to happen at Athens at a time when Athens was pre-eminent, not only in Greece, but in almost the whole world, what chance of considered action do you think there was in the assemblies in Phrygia or in Mysia ? Men of those nations often throw our own assemblies into confusion. What, pray, do you think happens when they are by themselves ? Athenagoras of Cyme was flogged because he dared to export grain during a famine. An assembly was granted to Laelius. Athenagoras came forward and, being a Greek among Greeks, he did not speak of his crime but complained of his punishment. They raised their hands - a Greek decree was born. Is this evidence ? People of Pergamum lately feasted, and a little earlier surfeited with all sorts of largesse these shoemakers and the belt-makers approved with their shouts the proposal which Mithridates said he wanted ; for he controlled that crowd, not by his influence, but by stuffing them with food. Is this the recorded will of a state ? I brought back witnesses from Sicily at public expense ; but it was the testimony, not of a frenzied assembly, but of a senate under oath. So now I have no dispute with a particular witness. [18] You must decide whether or not this ought to be regarded as evidence at all.

[8.] L   An excellent young man born in a high station, eloquent, comes with a large and elaborate suite into a Greek town. He asks for an assembly, he prevents the wealthy and the influential men from opposing him by threatening to summon them as witnesses He tempts the needy and the fickle by the hope of a junket and expenses paid from the public funds and even by private liberality. What trouble is it to inflame artisans and shopkeepers and all those dregs of the country, especially against a man who lately had the highest office but who could not inspire the deepest affection because of the odious name of his supreme authority ? [19] It is remarkable how gladly those men to whom our symbols of power are hateful, our name bitter, to whom the pasture tax, the tithe, the port-dues are death, how gladly they seize the chance for retaliation when it is offered ! Remember, then, when you hear Greek decrees that you are not listening to evidence ; you are listening to the vagaries of a mob, you are listening to the utterance of fickle men, you are listening to the uproar of the ignorant, you are listening to a frenzied assembly of the most fickle of nations And so examine with great care the nature and the truth of the accusations ; you will at once find nothing but a sham, nothing but terror and threats.

[9.] L   [20] "The states have nothing in the treasury, nothing in their revenues." There are two ways of procuring money - by borrowing or by tribute : no accounts of a creditor are offered, nor is any levy of tribute introduced in evidence But how readily they are wont to bring in falsified accounts, and to enter whatever is convenient in the account-books, learn from the letter of Gnaeus Pompeius sent to Hypsaeus ** and his reply to Pompeius.

( The letters of Pompeius and Hypsaeus are offered in evidence. )

Do you think we have offered sufficient proof by these documents of the corrupt practice of the Greeks and their impudent effrontery ? Unless perhaps we are going to think that those who, with no one to urge them, deceived Gnaeus Pompeius in his very presence, have become timid or scrupulous about deceiving Lucius Flaccus in his absence at the instigation of Laelius. [21] Granted that the account books were not tampered with in Asia, what weight or credibility can they have now ? The law provides that they should be brought to the praetor within three days and be sealed with the seals of the judges.

It was at least thirty days before they were delivered. The law, moreover, provided that the accounts be placed sealed in the public records that it might not be easy to falsify them ; but these had been falsified before they were sealed. What difference does it make, then, that they were delivered to the judges so late, or whether they were delivered to them at all ?

[10.] L   Then again if the witnesses and the prosecutor are close partners, are they still to be considered as witnesses ? What, then, has become of that eager expectation which is usual at trials ? For formerly, when the prosecutor had spoken with shrewdness and energy, and when the defendant had replied with deference and modesty, the third part, the testimony of the witnesses, was eagerly expected. They spoke either without any partisanship or with some attempt to conceal their desires. [22] But what is the situation now ? They sit with the prosecutor. They arise from his benches, there is no attempt at concealment or show of fear. I complain about the benches ! The witnesses come with the prosecutor from his house. If they make a mistake in a single word of testimony, they have no lodgings to which they may return. Can anyone be a witness whom the prosecutor questions without anxiety and has no fear that he may give him an unwelcome answer ? ** What, then, has become of that commendation for the orator which used formerly to be given to the prosecutor or the defending counsel, "He questioned the witness shrewdly, he approached him cleverly, he led him on just where he wished, he got the answers he wanted, he made him contradict himself and struck him dumb" ? [23] What were you going to ask that witness, Laelius, who, before you could say "I'm going to ask you . . ." will pour out a flood of information even greater than you had directed him to give earlier at your home ? But what am I, the counsel for the defence, to ask him ? For it is usual either to cross-examine the testimony of witnesses or to damage their reputations. With what questions am I to refute the statements of him who says "We gave him the money" - and nothing more ? So I must attack the witness, since his testimony offers no basis for argument. What shall I say against an unknown person ? I must, therefore, deprecate and deplore, as I have long been doing, the entirely unjust character of the whole accusation ; first in regard to the general character of the witnesses, for a nation is giving evidence which has no religious scruples at all in giving testimony. I come to closer grips. I deny that what you call decrees are testimony at all. It is a howl of the needy, a kind of chance emotion of a Greek assembly. I will come to still closer quarters. The man who conducted the business is not present, the man who is alleged to have counted out the money has not been brought here , no private letters have been offered as evidence, the public documents were retained in the possession of the prosecutors ; the whole thing rests on witnesses - they are living with the enemies of Flaccus, they came here with his prosecutors, they stay at the lodgings of his accusers. [24] Pray do you think this mil be a discussion and an examination of truth or the destruction and ruin of innocence ? For there are many things of such a kind, gentlemen, that they should be feared in general and as precedents, though they could be neglected in the case of the man who is on trial

[11.] L   If I were defending a man of low birth, of no distinction, with no reputation to commend him, but still a citizen, I would beg of you as citizens, in the name of common humanity and in the name of pity, not to surrender a citizen and your suppliant to unknown and suborned witnesses, the assistants, guests and intimates of the prosecutor, to men who are Greek in their fickleness and savages in their cruelty, lest you establish a dangerous precedent for others in after time. [25] But since Lucius Flaccus is being tried, a man belonging to a family whose first consul was the first consul elected in this state, by whose courage the kings were expelled and liberty established in the republic, a family which has continually, even up to the present time, maintained its distinguished record of achievements in offices of honour and military commands, and since Lucius Flaccus has not only not been false to the continuous and well-attested virtue of his ancestors, but as praetor has much preferred the renown of establishing his fatherland in its liberty because he saw that such a policy above all bore fair fruit in the glory of his clan in the case of this defendant should I fear that any bad precedent would be established ? No, for in his case, even if he had committed an error, all respectable men would have thought that it should be condoned. [26] But I not only do not ask that, gentlemen, but on the contrary, I beg and beseech you to the best of your ability to examine the whole case most closely and with steady eyes, as the saying goes. Nothing will be found affirmed on sacred honour, nothing based on truth, nothing asserted with real feeling, but on the contrary everything will be discovered to be befouled with lust, passion, partisanship, bribery, perjury.

[12.] L   [27] For now that their greed on all occasions is known, I proceed to the particular complaints and accusations made by the Greeks, They complain that money was demanded of the states as a contribution to the fleet. We admit that this was done, gentlemen But if this is a crime, it is so because it was not lawful to make the requisition, or because ships were not needed, or because no fleet put to sea while he was praetor. That you may be quite clear that it was lawful, listen to what the senate voted while I was consul, though in fact it differs not at all from the previous decrees of the senate for several years in succession.

( The decree of the senate is read. )

The next step, then, is to inquire whether or not a fleet was needed. Would this be for the Greeks or other foreign nations to decide, or would our praetorship, our leaders, our generals decide it' Indeed, I think in a district and province of this kind, which is girt by the sea, dotted with ports and surrounded by islands, that we were forced to control the sea, not only in order to guard the coast, but also to keep the empire properly equipped. [28] For our ancestors had such moderation and such dignity that, though they lived in the greatest frugality, content with very little in their private establishments and expenses, in the government and in the dignity of the state their only standard was glory and display. For in private life praise for self-control is sought, in public life praise for dignity. But if he levied the fleet for protection, who will be so unfair as to blame him ? The objection is raised "There were no pirates." What ? Who could guarantee that there would be none ? "You are detracting from the glory of Pompey," ** he says. Rather you are increasing his troubles. [29] For he destroyed the fleets of the pirates, their cities, ports, hiding-places He brought peace to the sea with the greatest gallantry and unbelievable speed. He did not, however, guarantee this - nor should he - that he would assume the blame if any piratical craft should later appear anywhere. And so he himself, after he had brought to an end all wars in Asia on land and sea, nevertheless levied a fleet from these same cities. But if Pompey decided that a fleet was needed then, when everything could be kept safe and peaceful by the knowledge of his presence, what do you think Flaccus should have planned and done after Pompey had departed ? [13.] L   [30] What ? Did we not here at the suggestion of Pompey himself, in the consulship of Silanus and Murena, ** vote that the fleet in Italy should put to sea ? At that very time when Lucius Flaccus was recruiting rowers in Asia were we not here in Rome spending four million three hundred thousand sesterces on the Adriatic and Tuscan seas ? Again, was not money spent on the fleet the next year, when Marcus Curtius and Publius Sextilius were quaestors ? Again, during all this time was not cavalry stationed along the coast ? For this is the superhuman glory of Pompey, first that he brought into subjection all those pirates who, at the time the maritime war was entrusted to his direction, were wandering at large over the whole sea, secondly, that Syria is ours, Cilicia is held fast, Cyprus dares not move because of King Ptolemy and Crete is ours by the valour of Metellus. There is no base and no refuge for the pirates, all the bays, promontories, shores, islands, coastal cities are held by the barriers of our empire. [31] But if when Flaccus was praetor there had been not a single pirate on the sea, still his caution would not be blameworthy. For indeed I should think that his possession of a fleet was the very cause there was no pirate. Again, if I show by the testimony of Lucius Eppius, of Lucius Agrius, Gaius Caestius, Roman knights, and also by the testimony of this famous man, Gnaeus Domitius, who was then a legate in Asia, that at the very time when you affirm that a fleet was unnecessary many people had been captured by pirates, would Flaccus's conduct in requisitioning rowers still be blameworthy ? What even if a man of Adramyttium of noble birth was killed by the pirates - his name is known to most of you - Atyanas, a victor in boxing at Olympia ? Among the Greeks - since we have spoken of how they value things - this is considered almost greater and more glorious than a triumph at Rome. "But you captured nobody." How many famous men have there been in charge of the sea coast who rendered the sea safe without capturing any pirates ? For chance plays a large part m effecting a capture, as do situation, incidents, opportunity; a defence is easily provided for, not only by secret retreats in hidden localities, but also by the shifting and changing of the winds. [14.] L   [32] It remains now to inquire whether that fleet put to sea with sails and oars, or whether it sailed only on paper out of their pockets. This, then, cannot be denied, can it, all Asia is a witness to it - that the fleet was so divided into two squadrons that the one cruised above Ephesus, the other below ? In this fleet that distinguished man, Marcus Crassus, sailed from Aenus to Asia ; in these ships Flaccus sailed from Asia to Macedonia. In what, then, can shortcoming be found in the diligence of the praetor ? In the number of the ships and in the equable division of the expense ? He requisitioned half the number Pompey had used. He could not have been more economical, could he ? Moreover, he apportioned the expense according to the allotment of Pompey, which was based on the distribution of Lucius Sulla. Since Sulla had divided all the states of Asia proportionally into classes, both Pompey and Flaccus followed his method in dividing the expense. And still the entire amount has not yet been made up. "He gives no account of it." True ; what would he gain by doing so ? [33] For by undertaking the responsibility for levying the money he admits that which you wish to call a crime. How, then, can it be proved that he is committing a crime because he gives no account of this money, when there would be no question of a crime if he had given an account ?

But you say that my brother who succeeded Lucius Flaccus levied no money for rowers. I am indeed delighted with this commendation of my brother Quintus, but I should prefer other commendations more serious and more important. He decided otherwise, he took a different view, he thought that whenever there was any news of the pirates he could prepare a fleet as quickly as he wished. In short, my brother was the first in Asia to relieve the states of the expense of rowers ; but then a crime usually is thought to be committed when someone levies a tax for the first time, not when a successor changes some of the arrangements of his predecessors. Flaccus could not know what others who came after him would do, he saw what his predecessors had done. [15.] L   [34] But since I have spoken about the common charge that concerned all Asia, I will deal now with the separate states. Of these let us take first the state Acmonia. The clerk at the top of his voice summons the representatives from Acmonia. Just one, Asclepiades, comes forward. Let them come forward. Have you forced even the clerk to lie ? For I suppose this is the man chosen to support the reputation of his state by his weighty influence, a man condemned at home by the most disgraceful convictions, branded in the public reports. There are letters from Acmonia regarding his crimes, adulteries, and incests which I think should be omitted, not only because of their length, but also because of the foul obscenity of their contents. He said that the state contributed two hundred and six thousand drachmas. ** He only said so, he gave no proof, he brought no witnesses. But he added - a thing of which certainly it was right for him to inform us, since it was personal - that he gave personally two hundred and six thousand drachmas. The impudent fellow says that an amount was taken from him such as he never dared to hope to have. [35] He says that he paid it through Aulus Sextilius and through his own brothers Sextilius could have given it, but his brothers were all his partners in beggary. Let us listen first to Sextilius, then let the brothers appear, let them be to their hearts' content, and let them say they gave what they never had. Still , when they appear personally as witnesses perhaps they will make some statement in which they can be caught. "I didn't bring Sextilius," he says. Produce the accounts. "I didn't bring them either." At least put your brothers on exhibition. "I didn't notify them." Are we, then, going to fear, as if it were an accusation or a sworn declaration, this statement tossed at us by a single individual, Asclepiades, a pauper, a low-lived person, without reputation, relying on his impudence and his effrontery, without written evidence and with no one to support his statements ? [36] This same person said that the public testimonial was spurious which was given to Flaccus by the people of Acmonia and introduced by us in evidence. Indeed, I had hoped to lose that testimonial. For when this noble defender of his country saw the state seal he said that his fellow-citizens and the Greek states in general signed for the moment's needs So keep your public testimonial ; for the life and the standing of Flaccus do not rest on the testimony of the people of Acmonia. For you are giving me the evidence which this case most needs, that there is no dignity, no reliability, no steadfast purpose in the Greeks and, finally, no trustworthiness in their testimony. Unless indeed that formula which governs the evidence and your speech can be expressed and marked precisely enough to say that the states have granted some favour to Flaccus in his absence; but for Laelius, who was present in person, who was acting in his own interests supported by the strength of the law and the lights of a prosecutor, and who, besides, was using his own resources as a means of terrorising and threatening, for him they seem not to have written or sealed anything even for the sake of expediency.

[16.] L   [37] Indeed, gentlemen, I have often seen great plots caught and detected by petty details, as in the case of this Asclepiades This public testimonial which was offered to you in evidence was sealed with that Asiatic clay ** which is known to almost all of us. Everybody uses it in both public and private letters, such as we see every day sent by the tax-collectors and such as we all often send. Now the witness himself when he had seen the seal did not say that we were producing a forgery, but he affirmed that all Asia was untrustworthy - a thing which we cheerfully and readily admit. And so our public testimonial which he says was given to us for the sake of expediency (he does admit it was given) was sealed with Asiatic clay. But on the testimonial which he says was given to the prosecutor we see that wax was used. [38] If I thought, gentlemen, that you were influenced by the resolutions of the people of Acmonia or the letters of the other peoples of Phrygia, I should make a great noise at this point and I should be as earnest as possible I should call the tax-collectors to give evidence. I should summon the traders. I should appeal to your own knowledge. Because of the discovery that wax had been used, I would be confident that the bold deception employed in this testimony would be clearly detected and suppressed. ** But now I will not scoff too bitterly nor fly into a passion at this insult, nor fall upon this trifler as I would on some witness, nor will I be influenced at all in the whole matter of the testimony of the people of Acmonia, whether it be forged - as is apparent - or sent from that town, as is said. For I shall not fear the testimony of these men to whom I shall return that testimonial, since they are, as Asclepiades says, untrustworthy.

[17.] L   [39] I come now to the testimony of the people of Dorylaeum. ** When they were introduced they said they had lost the public records near Speluncae. How greedy for literature these shepherds, these nobodies, ** were, since they took nothing from these men but the records. But we suspect another motive they might, perhaps, not appear quite so stupid. There is a heavier penalty as I think at Dorylaeum than elsewhere for forging and falsifying documents. If they had produced the true records, they would be open to no accusation, if they produced forged records, punishment awaited them. They thought it a most lovely idea to say the records were lost ! [40] So let them remain silent, and let them allow me to regard this as a piece of good luck and to devote myself to something else. No, they do not permit that. For some contemptible nobody adds a new twist by saying he privately gave them the evidence. But it is not possible to put up with this at all. Any man who reads evidence out of public documents which have been in the hands of the prosecutor should have no influence ; but still there is some semblance of a judicial process, when the records themselves, of whatever sort they are, are produced. But when a person whom none of you ever saw, of whose existence no human being ever even heard, says merely : "I gave the evidence," will you hesitate, gentlemen, to rescue from this utterly unknown Phrygian an admirable Roman citizen? And lately three Roman knights, honourable and serious men, did not believe this same man when, in a case involving a man's freedom, he said the man on trial was his kinsman. How does it happen that he who was not a credible witness for his own grievance and his own kin is at the same time an influential authority on an injury to the state ? [41] And when this person from Dorylaeum was lately carried out to burial attended by a great throng and concourse of your people, Laelius laid the odium of his death upon Lucius Flaccus. You are quite wrong, Laelius, if you think that the life or death of your comrades involves us in any risk, especially when we think his death happened through your carelessness. For you threw a basket of figs to the Phrygian who had never seen a fig-tree ! ** His death was at least some relief to you, for you lost a voracious guest ; but what did it profit Flaccus ? The man who was valuable only as long as he was coming forward with evidence - is dead ; his sting was extracted, his evidence given. But that chief glory of your prosecution, Mithridates, after we had detained him two days as a witness, disgorged everything he had to say and withdrew, censured, convicted, a broken man. He walks about in a coat of mail. This wise and learned man is afraid that now Lucius Flaccus will compromise himself by crime, since he can no longer escape this witness, and that Flaccus, who restrained himself before the testimony against himself was given even though he thought he could still accomplish something, is now so acting as to add a true accusation of positive injury to the false testimony of greed. But since Quintus Hortensius has spoken conclusively and fully about this witness and the whole charge of Mithridates, let us go on as we intended to other subjects.

[18.] L   [42] The chief man in instigating all the Greeks - he is sitting with the prosecutors - is Heraclides yonder of Temnus, ** a silly talkative fellow, but, as he himself thinks, so learned that he even says he is their teacher. But this man, who is so eager for recognition that he daily salutes all of you and us, could not secure admission to the senate at Temnus even at his time of life, ** and he who claims that he could teach others the art of speaking was himself convicted on all sorts of disgraceful charges. [43] Nicomedes came with him as a delegate - an equally fortunate man, who could not get into the senate on any condition, and who has been convicted of theft and defrauding a partner. For the head of the delegation, Lysanias, did, indeed, attain the senatorial rank, but when he devoted himself too closely to public business, he was convicted of embezzlement and lost both his property and his rank as senator. These three have good reason to wish that the records of our treasury were false, for they deposed that they had nine slaves though they had come without a single companion. I see that Lysanias was first to witness to the record. His brother's property was sold at public auction when Flaccus was praetor, because he could not discharge a debt to the state. Besides these, there is Philippus, the son-in-law of Lysanias, and Hermobius, whose brother Pollis has also been convicted of embezzlement. [19.] L   They say they gave to Flaccus and to those with him fifteen thousand drachmas. [44] l am dealing with a state most shrewd and detailed in its accounting, in which not a cent could be transferred without the approval of five praetors, three quaestors, four bankers, who among those people are chosen by popular assemblies. Of all that number not a single one has been produced, and though they claim that that money was given to Flaccus personally, they say that they entered in the accounts another large sum which they also gave to him for the repair of a shrine. This is not consistent. For either all the payments should have been made secretly, or all openly. When they paid Flaccus privately they did not fear nor distrust him at all, but when they assigned the money to a public work these same men suddenly became thoroughly afraid of the man whom they had formerly regarded with indifference. If the praetor did pay it - as the record shows it was counted out to him by a quaestor, the quaestor had it from a public bank, the bank had it from an ordinary tax or from tribute. There will be no semblance of an accusation here, unless you explain to me the entire transaction with every detail of person and account involved.

[45] Or since it is written in this same decree that the most eminent men of the state who had enjoyed the greatest distinctions were cheated by this praetor, why are they not present at the trial and why are they not named in the decree ? I don't suppose he means by that description Heraclides, who is rising in his place. He isn't among the illustrious citizens, is he ? - this man whom Hermippus brought here detained under judgement for debt, who did not get that position as delegate from his fellow-citizens but begged it at Tmolus, who never held any office in his own state, but only such business as is entrusted to the humblest of men was ever delegated to him in all his life. He was put in charge of the public grain-supply by the praetor Titus Aufidius. When he received funds from the praetor Publius Varinius for that purpose, he concealed it from his fellow-citizens and charged them for the expense besides. After this was known and disclosed at Temnus by a letter from Varinius, and when Gnaeus Lentulus, who was censor, and patron of the people of Temnus, had written about the same thing, no one thereafter saw this rascal Heraclides at Temnus. [46] And that you may be able to understand his shamelessness, listen, I pray you, to the cause which aroused the anger of this trifling person against Flaccus.

[20.] L   At Rome Heraclides bought an estate at Cyme ** from an orphan Meculonius. Since he pretended to be rich, though he had nothing, except that impudence which you see, he borrowed the money from Sextus Stloga, one of our jurors here, an excellent man who both understood the business and was not ignorant of the man. Still Stloga made the loan on the surety of another excellent man, Publius Fulvius Neratus. Heraclides secured funds from Gaius and Marcus Fufius, Roman knights, both distinguished and excellent men, and paid Stloga. Here, by Hercules, is a case of the proverbial "dog eat dog." ** For Heraclides swindled Hermippus here, a learned man, his own fellow-citizen, who should have been thoroughly acquainted with him. It was on his endorsement that Heraclides got the money from the Fufii. Hermippus, care-free, set out for Temnus, while this rascal Heraclides said he would repay the Fufii the money which he had received on the endorsement of Hermippus from funds secured from his pupils. [47] For this professor of oratory did have some rich young pupils, whom he made half as stupid again as they were when he received them, but he never could beguile any of them to the stupidity of lending him a penny. So when he had secretly left Rome after cheating many persons out of small loans, he arrived in Asia, and when Hermippus questioned him on the debt owed to the Fufii, he said he had paid them the whole amount. Meanwhile, shortly after, there came a freedman from the Fufii with a letter for Hermippus asking him to repay them the money. Hermippus demands it of Heraclides ; but, meanwhile, pays the Fufii, who are of course at Rome, and so redeems the endorsement he had given them, and when Heraclides began to waver and squirm he brought suit against him. The case is heard before arbiters. [48] Do not imagine, gentlemen, that the impudence of liars and cheats is not one and the same in all places. He acted just as our debtors are wont to act ; he said he had conducted no reborrowing at all at Rome ; he said he had never even heard the name of Fufius. He heaped all sorts of insults and curses on Hermippus himself, who is a careful and honourable gentleman, an old friend and guest of mine, the most illustrious and distinguished man of his state. But when the talkative person was showing off in his speech with a sort of headlong rush of words, the deposition of the Fufii and the items were unexpectedly produced and the most impudent man in the world was smitten with fear, the most talkative man in the world silent. And so the arbiters, since there was no doubt about the case, found against him in the first action. When he could not pay the judgement-debt he was handed over to Hermippus who took him into custody.

[21.] L   [49] You have before you the honesty of the man, the worth of his testimony and the whole cause of his hatred. He was released by Hermippus, when he had sold Hermippus a few slaves, and betook himself to Rome. He then returned to Asia after my brother had succeeded Flaccus. He went to him and reported the case as follows : The arbiters under compulsion of Flaccus and in fear had against their will given a false verdict. My brother in accordance with his justice and foresight decided that if Heraclides disputed the verdict he should have a new trial involving a doubling of the penalty, ** and if he said the arbiters had been influenced by fear, he should have the same arbiters. He refused ; and as if there had been no trial and verdict, he began to demand from Hermippus on the spot the slaves which he had sold him. Marcus Gratidius, the legate before whom the case was heard, refused to grant him a trial ; he showed that it was his wish that the judgement should stand. [50] A second time Heraclides, who had no place at all where he could stay, betook himself to Rome. Hermippus, who never yielded to his impudence, followed him. Heraclides asks of Gaius Plotius, a senator, an excellent man, who had been legate in Asia, certain slaves which he said he had been forced to sell when he was condemned as a debtor. Quintus Naso, a very distinguished man, who had been praetor, was selected as arbiter. When he made it clear that he was going to give his decision in favour of Plotius, Heraclides abandoned that arbiter and, because the business did not legally involve a court judgement, threw in the whole case. Do you think I have done well, gentlemen, to seek out the individual witnesses and not, as was my first intention, to come to grips only with the witnesses in general as a class ?

[51] I come now to Lysanias, of this same state, your own special witness, Decianus, You knew him when he was a youth at Temnus, and because he delighted you then when he was stripped you wished him to be always naked. You took him from Temnus to Apollonis. ** You lent money to the youth at high interest but you first took a security. You say this security was forfeited to you. You hold and possess it to-day. You have compelled him to come here to give his testimony in the hope of regaining his ancestral estate. Since he has not yet given his testimony I await what he will say. I know the kind of man he is. I know his habits. I know his lust. So though I know what he is prepared to say, still I will not contradict him before he has spoken. For he will alter it all and invent something else. Therefore let him keep what he has prepared, and I will keep myself fresh for what he is going to produce.

Following sections (52-106)


1.(↑)   i.e. the consulship. Flaccus was praetor in 63, while Cicero was consul.

2.(↑)   In the year 509 L. Tarquinius Collatinus — because of his relationship to King Tarquin — was forced to resign the consulship. P. Valerius was appointed in his place. Because of his activity in expelling Tarquin, he was given the name Poplicola,

3.(↑)   The jury consisted, according to the Aurelian law of 70 B.C., of senators, knights, and tribuni aerarii. The latter were classed with the knights, so that there were twenty-five of senatorial, and twenty-five of equestrian status,

4.(↑)   C. Antonius who led the army against Catiline. Condemned in 59 for maladministration in Macedonia.

5.(↑)   Flaccus, who secured from the Allobroges the evidence that convicted the conspirators.

6.(↑)   Cicero.

7.(↑)   Reading 'aestiment' with Madvig.

8.(↑)   Rather than say they (the conspirators) were executed.

9.(↑)   Unknown.

10.(↑)   A prosecutor supporting Laelius.

11.(↑)   du Mesnil suggests completing thus:   "Would that the credit were really mine. The senate, however, chiefly influenced by his authority, voted that those who were preparing destruction for the fatherland should be subjected to the most severe punishment."

12.(↑)   du Mesnil's suggestion is:   "It was fitting in destroying him to disregard that argument among strangers, since his private life and character are well known. And so I will not allow you, Decimus Laelius, to assume this and to lay down this rule and regulation for others in the future, for us at present, that we should disregard the rest of a defendant's life and make note only of that time in which the matter under consideration falls."

13.(↑)   Unimportant villages in Lydia and Caria.

14.(↑)   79 B.C.

15.(↑)   Q. Metellus Creticus.

16.(↑)   δάνεισόν μοι μαρτυρίαν.

17.(↑)   Mithridates and Tigranes.

18.(↑)   The resolutions for which Cicero expresses his contempt were the records of votes taken viva voce in the local Greek town meetings.

19.(↑)   Contrasted with the Roman assemblies whose members stood.

20.(↑)   P. Plautius Hypsaeus, quaestor to Pompey in the third war with Mithridates.

21.(↑)   The witnesses were living on the bounty of the prosecutor - at his house, Cicero affirms. If this testimony did not satisfy the prosecutor they would promptly be turned out of doors.

22.(↑)   Pompey had, supposedly, annihilated the pirates.

23.(↑)   62 B.C.

24.(↑)   This is one-fifth of the total mentioned earlier (§ 30).

25.(↑)   A white, plastic earth mentioned by Herodotus, ii. 38.

26.(↑)   The wax could more easily be removed and replaced without detection than could the Asiatic clay.

27.(↑)   A town in Phrygia.

28.(↑)   The robbers.

29.(↑)   Authorities differ on the question of whether an overdose of figs - fresh or dried - would be fatal to one unaccustomed to that diet. The figs were actually given and the man died. Whether the figs were the cause of the death, as Cicero suggests, will never be known.

30.(↑)   A town in Mysia on the Hermus.

31.(↑)   Admission to a local senate was usually secured early in life. Cicero implies that Heraclides had not attained this petty distinction even late in life.

32.(↑)   Aeolian Cyme in Asia Minor.

33.(↑)   The Latin saying is literally, "A crow plucks out the eye of a crow." Macr. Sat vii. 5.

34.(↑)   Forfeit money had to be provided by the prosecutor of a suit to establish the faith of his accusation. In case of a retrial, the forfeit deposit might be doubled.

35.(↑)   A town in Lydia.

Following sections (52-106) →

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