Cicero : Pro Murena

Sections 58-90

This speech was delivered for L. Murena, in 63 B.C.

The translation is by H.E.D. Blakiston (1894). 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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[28.] L   [58] I come now to M. Cato, that is, to the real mainstay and support of the whole of this prosecution ; but though I allow that he is most severe and strenuous, still it is rather his indirect influence than his direct accusations which alarm me. In dealing then with this supporter of the prosecution, I must begin, gentlemen, by entreating you not to let L. Murena be prejudiced by Cato's high position, by his approaching tribunate, or by the brilliance and high moral tone of his whole life ; in short, not to allow the good qualities of M. Cato, which he has cultivated with the object of benefiting many persons, prove detrimental to my client alone. P. Africanus had been twice consul, and had swept away the two great obstacles which stopped the march of the Roman empire, Carthage and Numantia, when he prosecuted L. Cotta. He possessed the most remarkable oratorical force, honour, uprightness, and an influence as strong as the whole authority of the government of the Roman people, which was upheld by his exertions. I have often heard my elders say that this overwhelming strength on the part of the prosecutor greatly assisted L. Cotta. The very sensible jury which tried that case did not like to see any one convicted under such circumstances as might lead to the supposition that he had been sacrificed to the overpowering strength of his opponent. [59] Take the case of Ser. Galba, the facts of which are known by tradition ; is it not true that when your great-grandfather, the gallant and successful M. Cato, was straining every nerve to ruin him he was rescued by the Roman people ? Indeed at Rome the possession by a prosecutor of resources too superior has always been disliked and resisted both by the people generally and by intelligent and far-sighted jurymen. I do not like to see a prosecutor bringing any sort of ascendency to bear on a court, any superior strength, any exceptional influence, any excessive popularity. All these advantages may be employed to save the innocent, to strengthen the powerless, to succour the ruined ; but when they are used to bring danger and destruction on other citizens, they should not be tolerated. [60] For if any one happens to suggest that Cato would not have condescended to prosecute, unless he had arrived at a decision on the merits of the case, he will be laying down a most unfair principle and establishing a precedent fraught with misery for men in dangerous positions, if he maintains that the private opinion of the prosecutor ought to have the same value as the decision of a preliminary investigation to the prejudice of the person accused.

[29.] L   Personally I cannot censure your principles, Cato, on account of the extraordinary opinion which I entertain of your moral worth ; but I may be able perhaps to touch them up in some points and to effect some slight improvements. You err not much, as the aged mentor says to the gallant hero, ** but you do err ; and I can guide you straight. Not that this is my tone towards you ; I might most truthfully say that you never err, and that your character never appears to require correction rather than gentle ad monition. For nature herself has adjusted your disposition to the requirements of honourable, serious, temperate, high-minded, just, and generally virtuous conduct, and so produced in you a great and noble man. But to these natural gifts has been added the practice of a philosophy which is not judicious or gentle, but as it seems to me, rather too rough and hard to adapt itself to the realities of human nature. [61] And since I have not on the present occasion to address my arguments to an ignorant mob or to a rustic council, I will discuss with rather more freedom the principles of cultivated men, which are known and valued by you and me alike. Now in M. Cato, gentlemen, the excellent and superhuman qualities which we behold are the attributes of his own character; that there are some good qualities for which we look in vain, is the fault of his moral teachers and not of his own nature. There was a certain extremely able man, named Zeno, the adherents of whose theories are called Stoics. Zeno's dogmatic positions are to the following effect. The ideally wise man is never affected by influence and never pardons anyone's fault : no one is forgiving but the foolish and weak : no true man allows himself to be dissuaded or pacified : the wise alone are handsome, even if quite deformed ; rich, even if in the utmost need ; and kings, even if in a servile position. We others, who are not wise men, are runaway slaves, exiles, enemies, and in short, lunatics. All transgressions are equally heinous ; every misdeed is an abominable crime ; and a man who has killed a barn-door fowl unnecessarily has committed as great a fault as a man who has strangled his father. The wise man never merely supposes anything, is never sorry for anything, is never misled in anything, never changes his mind. [30.] L   [62] These ideas the brilliant intellect of M. Cato has adopted on the authority of the most learned masters; and not merely as theoretical positions, like the majority of the pupils, but as practical rules of life. The tax-farmers are urging a suit : beware of allowing influence to have any weight. Some distressed and ruined people come with a petition : you will be an atrocious criminal if you do anything from motives of compassion. Some one confesses that he has sinned and asks pardon for his misdeed : it is an atrocious crime to grant pardon. But the fault is a light one : all sins are equally heinous. You have made some statement : then it is decided once for all. You were not guided by facts but by suppositions : the wise man never supposes. You went wrong in some matter : he thinks you are libelling him. To this system we owe such results as the following : I said in the senate that I would impeach one of the candidates for the consulship. Well, you were angry when you said it. No, the wise man is never angry, says the Stoic. Then you said it to meet a situation. Only a bad man, says he, employs falsehood as a means to an end ; to change one's mind is disgrace ful ; to be dissuaded is a crime, to show pity is a sin.

[63] Our masters, on the other hand - for I admit, Cato, that I also when I was a young man distrusted my own ability and sought the assistance of philosophy - my masters, I say, of the schools of Plato and Aristotle, men of moderate and sound views, say that the ideally wise man is at times affected by influence ; that the good man may show pity ; that it is possible to distinguish between misdeeds, and that punishment admits of degrees ; that a consistent man finds occasions for exercising forgiveness ; that even the wise man himself often supposes something that he does not know for certain ; that he is occasionally angry ; that he may even be dissuaded and appeased ; that he sometimes alters a statement he has made, if greater correctness is gained thereby ; that he some times recedes from an opinion ; that all virtues are defined by holding a mean position between two extremes. [31.] L   [64] If any accident had led you, Cato, to the feet of these teachers, with your natural predispositions, you certainly would not be a better or a braver or a more self-restrained or a more upright man, that would be impossible, but you would be a little more inclined to show compassion. You would not prosecute from no motive of personal hostility and without any provocation received, a man of the most modest character, a man of the most distinguished position and of the highest honour. You would feel that as you and Murena have happened to be chosen to fill positions of responsibility in the same year, you were bound to him by a well-defined political tie ; and so either you would have altogether disregarded the harsh statement you made in the senate, or you would now be modifying its severity. [65] Yes, even you, as far as I can predict the future, though you are at the present moment carried away by your impetuosity, and excited by the vehemence of your strong nature and your fine abilities, and burning with zeal to exemplify the training you have just completed, you yourself will presently be altered by experience, softened by the lapse of time, and made milder by advancing years. The fact is that your teachers and instructors in morality seem to me to have placed the goal of moral duty at a height rather above the point intended by nature, with the idea that, if we set our aspirations on the highest summit, we might at any rate reach a satisfactory level of performance. Never forgive anything. That is, forgive some things but not everything. Never yield to influence under any circumstances . That is, persevere as long as duty and honour require you to resist. Never be moved by pity. Quite so ; do not relax the strictness of your principles ; but remember that some merit is allowed to sympathetic conduct. Abide by your opinion. Of course, unless that opinion is defeated by a sounder one. [66] Such were the views of the great Scipio, who did not repent of taking the same step which you have taken, I mean, of having the learned Panaetius to reside in his house, And yet Panaetius's lectures and moral rules, though they were identical with those which please you, did not make Scipio more severe, but on the contrary, as I have heard from my elders, most considerate. Who again was ever more polite than C. Laelius ? Was there ever a more agreeable, or a more serious and intellectual person, though he too was a Stoic ? I can say the same of L. Philus and of C. Gallus ; but I will refer you at once to your own family. Do you think that there was ever a better example than your great-grandfather Cato of good-nature, sociability, and moderation in every relation of social life ? On an occasion when you were speaking with great force and truth of his surpassing merits, you said that you had a pattern for imitation in your own family. You certainly have that pattern set before you specially ; but I must say that, though similarity of temperament is more likely to be attained by you as his descendant than by any of us, still for imitation the pattern of his life is open as freely to me as it is to you ; and if you give your severe and rigid views a dash of his politeness and accessibility, I do not say that your principles will be improved, as they are already excellent, but they will certainly acquire a more agreeable flavour.

[32.] L   [67] Accordingly, to return to my original contention, I want the name of Cato altogether banished from the case ; I want all personal influence, which in courts of law ought to have no weight at all, or, if it has any, ought to assist the accused person, absolutely disregarded. Join issue with me simply on the charges themselves. What are you attacking, Cato ? What are you bringing before the notice of the court ? What are you arraigning ? You are attacking the act of bribery. I am not defending it. You are blaming me for defending a practice, which I have made a legal offence. What I made a legal offence, was bribery, and not innocent conduct ; the practice of bribery I will even join you in attacking, if you like. You stated that the senate resolved on my motion as follows : that if persons were paid to go to meet candidates, if persons were hired to form an escort for them, if places were assigned at the gladiatorial shows to whole tribes and similarly if banquets were given to the whole populace, such acts should be taken to be violations of the Calpurnian Law. The conclusion is, that if the decision of the senate is this, viz., that these acts should be taken to be violations of the law, supposing them to take place, then the senate is making a wholly unnecessary decree, in its anxiety to humour some of the candidates : for whether the practice occurred or not is the exact question which is being hotly disputed : if it did occur, there can be no doubt of its illegality. [68] It is therefore absurd to leave undecided just that point which is doubtful ; and to pronounce a decision on the question on which no one can feel any doubt. Furthermore the decree itself is made at the proposal of all the candidates ; so that the mere resolution of the senate does not explain who is affected favourably by it or against whom it is directed. Prove then that L. Murena has actually committed these acts ; and then I too will admit that the commission of them was illegal.

[33.] L   Many persons went out to meet Murena when he was returning from his province. But is there any one who is not met in this way ? What was the meaning of that huge crowd ? Well, in the first place, if I cannot give you any special reason for it, need it cause astonishment that when a distinguished man, a candidate for the consulship, was arriving, he was met by a large number of persons? It would be more surprising, if that had not occurred. [69] Yes, and even if I add the fact that, as is not at all unusual, many persons were asked to go, is such a request criminal ? Or is it surprising, that when it is customary in this state for men of our own rank to be asked to go almost over night to attend the sons of quite insignificant persons to the forum often from the farthest parts of the city, people should not have objected to going as far as the Campus Martius at the third hour of the morning, especially when requested in the name of so distinguished a man ? Indeed, if he was met by all the public companies, to which many of the jurors trying this case belong, what then ? what if many of the most eminent members of our own order went ? what if the most obsequious class of all, the people who never allow any one to enter Rome without paying their respects to him, I mean the whole tribe of candidates for office ? and if one of the counsel for the prosecution, our friend Postumus, went to welcome Murena with quite a large number of supporters, is there anything to cause astonishment in that huge crowd ? I say nothing of his clients, neighbours, and fellow-tribesmen, or of the whole army of Lucullus, which had arrived about that time to attend the triumph : I merely assert this, that the voluntary service of giving a man an imposing reception has never failed to be rendered to any man who deserved it, nor even to any one who desired it.

[70] 'But he was escorted by a large number of persons.' Show that these were paid; and then I will admit that a charge may lie. But if there is no proof of hiring, what is the point of your objection? [34.] L   'Why,' says he, 'what need is there for an escort at all?' Do you really ask me what need there is for a practice of which both of us have always availed ourselves ? The only opportunity of earning or repaying a favour from our class which men of small means have in their power, is this slight attention of forming an escort for us when we are standing for office. It is a sheer impossibility, and a thing not to be required from senators like us or from the Roman knights, that they should spend whole days in escorting their friends. If such people frequent our houses, if they sometimes attend us in procession to the forum, if they honour us with a single turn in a colonnade, we consider that we are receiving all due courtesy and attention from them. But poorer and less occupied men undertake these continuous exertions ; and worthy and generous men always have plenty of such friends. [71] Do not then attempt, Cato, to rob that humbler class of the return which they derive from their services ; allow men, who expect everything from us, to have something themselves which they can bestow upon us. If it is to be nothing but their own vote, it is not worth much ; as to canvassing, their influence is valueless ; in short, as they usually say, they cannot speak for us, become security for us, or invite us to their houses. Yet all these services they solicit from us, while they feel that this form of attention is the only equivalent they have to offer us for what they receive. So they have disregarded the Fabian Law, and the resolution adopted by the senate in the consulship of L. Caesar : for there is no penalty which can deter our poorer and more attentive friends from rendering us this usual and long-established service.

[72] 'But shows were given to whole tribes, and the populace was invited to a banquet.' Now although these things were not done at all by Murena, gentlemen of the jury, and by his friends only as is permitted by ordinary usage, still the remark reminds me how many votes were withdrawn, Servius, from our side, by the complaints on these points made in the senate. Surely there was never any period within our own memory or that of our fathers when this proceeding of bestowing places either in the amphitheatre or the forum on our friends and fellow-tribesmen, whether you call it corruption or generosity, did not occur. [35.] L   [73] [And if they think it criminal] ** that a mere officer of engineers should have given up his place to his fellow-tribesmen on one occasion, what will they do to men of high standing, who have hired whole blocks of seats in the amphitheatre to accommodate their tribes ? All these charges about being escorted, providing shows, and giving banquets, were attributed by the masses to your excessive activity, Servius : yet all these charges Murena can meet by preference to the senate's resolution. For instance, does the senate consider it criminal to go out to meet a candidate ? 'No, not unless it is for pay.' Prove that point then. Is it criminal that a number of persons should escort a candidate ? 'No, not unless they were hired.' Demonstrate that. Is it a crime to bestow places for seeing the shows or to issue invitations to a banquet ? 'Certainly not, unless the invitations were to the populace.' What do you mean by the populace ? 'The whole people of Rome.' So if my noble young friend, L. Natta, whose present ability and future promise we all observe, was anxious to establish his popularity in the voting classes of the knights as well for the sake of serving a relation as with an eye to the future, his action ought not to be made to prejudice his stepfather either secretly or openly ; nor yet, if a vestal virgin, very closely related to Murena, put at his disposal her place at the gladiatorial shows, is there any reason to say that she did not act with propriety or that any blame attaches to Murena. All these transactions are simply the services which are performed by friends, assistance rendered by poorer men, and exhibitions of generosity which are expected from the candidates.

[74] But Cato addresses me, you see, with Stoic austerity. He says that it is untrue that the good-will of the electors is secured by feeding them : he maintains that the deliberate judgment of human beings in appointing their magistrates ought not to be demoralised by motives of pleasure. Consequently, if any one invites people to dinner to promote his candidature, he is to be condemned ! It is possible, says he, that you are to solicit the highest official power, the highest position of responsibility, the very helm of government, by the process of pampering men's senses and enervating their principles and providing them with pleasurable sensations ? Were you standing for the post of pander to a set of young libertines, or desiring the task of governing the world as the officer of the Roman people ! An awful appeal ! but the terms of it are rejected as absurd by experience, ordinary life, custom, and the national habits. Neither the Lacedemonians, who originated these modes of living and talking, who recline on hard wooden benches at their daily public meals, nor the Cretans, who never eat in a reclining posture at all, have preserved their national institutions better than the good men of Rome, who take their pleasure and their work at different times : for the Cretan state was demolished by a single visit from our army, and the Lacedemonians retain their laws and system of education only under the protection of our rule. [36.] L   [75] Do not be so ready, then, Cato, to censure in too severe terms traditional practices, which are justified by their own propriety as well as by the prolonged existence of our empire. In the last generation there flourished a learned and honourable and well-born disciple of your school of thought, Q. Tubero. When Q. Maximus was giving a funeral feast to the people of Rome in honour of his late uncle, P. Africanus, he asked Tubero to undertake the expense of one of the tables, Africanus being his mother's brother. And Tubero, as a man of great learning and a Stoic to boot, provided wooden benches in the Punic style covered with common goat-skins, and laid out the table with Samian earthenware, as if Diogenes the Cynic had died and his funeral was being celebrated instead of that of the divine Africanus, Africanus's, I say, for whose life Maximus in the funeral oration gave thanks to the gods, that he had been born a Roman ; for the empire of the world must inevitably have fallen to the land in which he lived. This absurd exhibition of Tubero's philosophical principles at his distinguished uncle's funeral greatly displeased the Roman people; [76] and so that most virtuous man and admirable citizen, though he was grandson of L. Paulus, and nephew, as I have said, of P. Africanus, was kept out of the praetorship by those shabby goat-skins. The Roman people hates private extravagance, but it loves magnificence on public occasions: it does not like ostentatious banquets, but it likes shabbiness and want of taste even less. It makes distinctions between various classes of obligations and occasions, between the time for work and the time for enjoyment. Again, as to your statement that no inducement ought to influence men in the appointment of a magistrate except the qualifications of the candidates, you yourself, whose qualifications are of course supreme, do not observe your own principle. Why indeed do you ask any one for his support or assistance ? Do you, sir, ask me to let you govern me, to intrust my precious self to your care ? What do you say? Ought I really to be asked by you? [77] Ought not you rather to be asked by me to submit to exertion and danger for my protection ? Again, what about your employment of a prompter to tell you the electors names ? That practice is really a deception and a fraud. If it is morally right that you should address your fellow-citizens by their names, then it is morally wrong that they should be better known to your servant than to yourself: or if, even when you know them, still you have to address them after an appeal to a prompter, why do you ask him for the name as if you were not certain of it ? Again, what of the fact that, when you are being prompted, you nevertheless address them as if you knew their names yourself? And why, as soon as you have been designated consul, do you take so much less trouble in greeting people? All these practices judged by the rules of political morality are quite correct ; but if you test them by your philosophical standards, they will be found to be thoroughly dishonest. Accordingly the Commons {plebs} of Rome must not be robbed of the gratification which they derive from games, gladiatorial shows, and banquets, since in all this our ancestors did not see anything wrong ; nor must the candidates be deprived of that wish to be generous in these matters, which is an indication of generosity rather than of corrupt motives.

[37.] L   [78] But you urge that the interests of the country have forced you to prosecute. I can well believe, Cato, that you came here with that determination and with that conviction : but your mistake is want of reflection. In the course I am taking, gentlemen, I am acting not only out of regard for my friend L. Murena and his eminent position, but also, I vow and protest, in the interests of the peace, quiet, harmony, liberty, safety, and, in fact, preservation of all of us. Listen, listen, gentlemen, to a consul, who not to speak presumptuously, but the simple truth is pondering day and night over the affairs of this state. Not with such utter scorn did L. Catilina contemn the government of Rome, as to think that he would crush our liberties with those forces only at the head of which he left the city ! The contagion of his criminal project extends further than any one thinks ; and many more than you suppose are infected. Within these walls, within, I say, there is a second Horse of Troy ; but never, while I am consul, shall it destroy the sleeping city. [79] You ask me for what I fear Catilina. I fear him not, and I took measures to prevent any one else fearing him. But I do say that there is reason to fear those followers of his whom I see before me. Nor have we to fear now so much L. Catilina's forces as those villains who are reported to have deserted from his army. Not that they have really deserted ; no, they have been left here by him to spy and plot, to threaten our lives and drink our blood at last. These are the men who desire that you by your verdict to-day should dislodge from his post of guarding the city and protecting the constitution one who will be a blame less consul, who is an excellent general, and who is fitted by temperament and position to be the champion of order. Their bold and bloodthirsty attacks I have foiled at the polling place, baffled in the forum, and often defeated even at my own house, gentlemen ; but if you choose to deliver up one of the two consuls to their mercy, your verdict will have given them more than their own swords ever won. It is of supreme importance that the result which I achieved in the teeth of opposition should not be invalidated, and that there should be two consuls in office on the first of January.

[80] Do not imagine that their schemes are moderate, or that their methods are ordinary or that . . . Their design is more serious than an objectionable law, a ruinous distribution of public funds, or any mischievous scheme of which we have ever heard before. No, gentlemen, a conspiracy has been formed in Rome to sack the city, massacre the citizens, and destroy the name of Roman : such are the schemes which citizens of Rome, citizens, I say, if one may call them by that name, are devising and have devised for the ruin of their own country. Their plans I am counteracting day by day, I am impeding their violence and thwarting their crimes. But, gentlemen of the jury, I warn you : my consulship is about to expire. Do not rob me of the successor who will carry on my labours ; do not snatch away the friend, to whom I wish to commit my precious trust inviolate, for further protection against these manifold perils.

[38.] L   [81] And besides these evils, gentlemen, do you not see another hanging over us ? I appeal to you, Cato, to you. Is it possible you do not see the storm-cloud which is threatening your year? Already at a meeting held only yesterday was heard before the storm the boding voice of a tribune-elect, ** one of your colleagues ; to baffle whom much thought has been taken by your foreseeing mind, and much by all the good citizens, who called upon you to stand for the office of tribune. All the schemes that have ever been started for these three years past, from the moment when, as you all know, L. Catilina and Cn. Piso laid a plot to massacre the senate, are ready to burst in a deluge in these few days, these very months, this critical moment of our history. [82] Is there any place or time, gentlemen, any day or night, in which I am not occupied in escaping and evading the secret plots, the murderous daggers, of these wicked men, not simply by my own watchfulness, but much more by the protection of heaven ? Nor do these men wish me to be assassinated for personal reasons, but they want to remove a vigilant consul from his guard over the state ; nor would they be less anxious to remove you also, Cato, by any means, if they could, and indeed they are, believe me, actually working towards that end. They see the courage, the ability, the influence, the zeal for the safety of the state, which mark your character ; but they think that they will find it easier to crush you disarmed and weakened, when they have seen the tribune's power deprived of the authority and support which the consul can give. They are not afraid of another consul being elected to fill the vacancy ; they see that your colleagues will have the legal right to prevent that ; and they expect that they will find my distinguished friend, Silanus, an easy prey to them without his colleague, you without the help of a consul, and in fact Rome herself without a protector. [83] In these serious possibilities and in these serious dangers it is your duty, M. Cato, as a man whose life has been in my opinion intended not for yourself but for Rome, to consider what is taking place, to retain in Rome to assist and protect and second you in your policy, a consul who is not self-seeking, a consul who is, what this crisis specially needs, qualified by his position to promote peace, by his military knowledge to conduct a war, and by his general character and experience to carry through whatever piece of work is required of him.

[39.] L   However, the full authority to decide this question is vested, gentlemen, in you; in this case you control, you guide the destinies of Rome. If L. Catilina and the gang of infamous villains, who followed him from the city, could act as judge and jury in this matter, they would pronounce L. Murena guilty; if they could put him to death, they would kill him. Catilina's calculations demand that the government should be bereft of all support, that the supply of generals able to check his fury should be reduced, that the tribunes of the people should have greater facilities given them, by the ejection of their staunch opponent, for promoting riot and anarchy. Is it possible then that men of the highest honour and wisdom, men selected from the privileged classes, will give the same decision as that most impudent bully, that bitter foe of Rome, would give ? [84] Believe me, gentlemen, your verdict in this case will decide not only the fate of L. Murena, but your own. We have come to the brink of destruction ; there is nothing by which we can support ourselves ; there is no fresh foothold, if we fall. We must not only avoid impairing what defences we still have, but even procure new safeguards, if it be possible. Our foe is not now menacing us from a camp on the Anio, as in what was thought the most serious crisis of the Punic war, but in the city, in the forum, merciful heavens ! I cannot speak unmoved, even in the innermost shrine of government, in the senate-house itself, I say, our foes are to be found. May the gods vouchsafe that my gallant colleague ** may crush Catilina's murderous gang with his army, and that I at Rome, without recourse to arms, but with the help of you and all honest men, may by wise measures dispel and render abortive the dangers with which the present political situation teems ! [85] But what will be the end, if these perils elude our efforts to arrest them, and are prolonged into the year which is now approaching ? There will be only one consul; and he will be engaged not in conducting the war, but in procuring a new colleague. Of persons likely to thwart him at once, . . . . . that savage and shameless pest of his country will break out, wherever he can, and even now is threatening an assault. In a moment he will swoop down on the suburban districts : then passion will be rampant on the rostra, panic will dominate the Senate-house, sedition will reign in the forum, an army will occupy the Campus, and desolation will pervade the land. Wherever men live and meet we shall dread the devastation of fire and sword, even now advancing upon us. But all these perils, if Rome is fully provided in time with her natural means of defence, will easily be dispersed by the policy of the magistrates with the co-operation of private citizens.

[40.] L   [86] At this crisis, gentlemen, first of all for the sake of our country, the love of which should be the strongest motive that any man feels, by the great and indisputable solicitude which I have shown for that country, I warn you : with all the authority of a consul, I urge you : by the vastness of the danger, I adjure you, to do your best to preserve peace and quiet, the lives of yourselves and the lives of your fellow-citizens. In the second place I as urgently beg and implore you, gentlemen, out of the fulness of my duty as Murena's advocate and friend, not to condemn a man who is overcome with grief and with bodily as well as mental anguish, not to drown for L. Murena the note of congratulation in unexpected sounds of woe. A few days since when he was the distinguished recipient of the greatest honour the Roman people can bestow, men thought him fortunate indeed, because he had been the first to bring the consulship into his ancient family and into his venerable municipium. Now he is suddenly plunged into mourning and misery, now he is decked only with the sombre garb of woe ; and he throws himself on your mercy, gentlemen of the jury, he appeals to your honour, he beseeches your pity, he fixes his imploring gaze on your legal authority and your influence. [87] Do not choose, gentlemen, I beseech you in the sight of heaven, to rob my client, by depriving him of this place of honour, which he thought would advance his honourable career, of all the honour able distinctions that he lias hitherto gained, of all that he is and all that he has. And L. Murena's appeal to your mercy, gentlemen, is no more than this : he begs that, if, as is the fact, he has never injured any one, if he has never corrupted any one's mind or morals, if he has never been even (to use the most colourless term) disliked by anyone in any civil or military capacity, he may find in you men who look with favour on unassuming conduct, who protect the downcast, and who assist the modest. A man deprived of the consulship, gentlemen, ought to have many claims to your compassion ; for with the consulship he loses everything. Nor in times like these can the consul ship be really the mark of envy, for it is exposed to the attack of seditious conspiracies and of traitorous plots ; it is the mark of Catilina's daggers : yes, the consul must encounter alone every kind of peril and every kind of envious passion. [88] So why people should envy Murena or indeed any of us for the proud distinction of the consulship, I confess, gentlemen, I do not understand. But the circumstances which establish a claim to compassion are ever before my eyes, and you can see them clearly for yourselves.

[41.] L   But if which disaster may heaven avert your verdict dashes my client's hopes to the ground, whither will the wretched man betake himself? Will he turn to his own home, to see his illustrious father's effigy, a few days ago crowned with fresh laurels to celebrate his success, now reflecting his disgrace and misery ? Or to his mother, who, poor lady, gave her last kiss to a son newly elected consul, and who is now tortured with anxiety and fear lest she should see him soon deprived of every honour that he now enjoys ? [89] But why do I speak of the mother or the home of a man, whom, if convicted, the new provisions of the law to punish bribery will condemn to lose both home and parent and to be deprived of the sight and society of all his friends ? And whither will the exiled man, as he will be then, betake himself ? To the East, where he was many years second in command, where he led armies and won great successes ? No, it is painful indeed to return disgraced to a place you once left with well-earned fame. Or will he hide his shame in the opposite quarter of the earth, and let the province of Transalpine Gaul recognise in a sad and mournful exile the man it once delighted to see in the possession of the highest authority ? And if he retires thither, how will he bear to meet there his brother, C. Murena? Imagine my client's grief! imagine his brother's anguish ! imagine the lamentations of both the brothers ! Reflect how completely his social rank and reputation will be destroyed, when at the very place where a few days before messengers and letters had published the joyful news that Murena was elected consul, and from which his family-friends and personal associates had flocked to Rome to congratulate him on his success, at that very same place he suddenly appears with the news of his own ruin ! [90] If such anticipations are full of misery and bitterness and calamity, if they are such as your merciful and compassionate natures utterly abhor, then, gentlemen, confirm to my client the honour which the Roman people have conferred on him ; restore to Rome her second consul ; concede thus much to Murena's modest character, concede it to the memory of his dead father, concede it to his family and his kin, concede it to the prayers of the honourable municipium of Lanuvium, whose representatives you have seen filling the court and following the progress of this case with tears. Do not allow yourselves to violently deprive the ancient local worship of Juno the Protectress, to whom all the consuls are bound to sacrifice, of the service of a consul who is specially her own by birth. And thus I to you, gentlemen, if my testimony to his claims or approval of his character has weight or any influence with you, I commend to your favour, in my capacity as consul, one for whom I can vouch and of whom I can aver that he, in his capacity as consul, will be most anxious for peace, most zealous for order, most strenuous against treason, most brave in war, and most staunch in resistance to this traitorous conspiracy, which is even now undermining the foundations of our ancient constitution.


7.   Phoenix to Achilles in some drama adapted from the Iliad.

8.   Some words appear to be lost at this point.

9.   Q. Metellus Nepos. See Cat. iv. 10.

10.   The other consul, C. Antonius Hybrida, who was in fact distrusted by Cicero. See also Cat. iii. 14, Phil. ii. 98.

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