Cicero : Pro Sestio

Sections 75-147

The translation is by R. Gardner (1958). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section.

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[35.] L   [75] While the resolution of the Senate was being hindered by every kind of delay, farce, and chicanery, at length the day arrived for dealing with my case in the Assembly on 23 January. Quintus Fabricius, the proposer of the bill, a very great friend of mine, occupied the rostra some time before daybreak. On that day Sestius, the man who is now accused of violence, remained quiet; this pleader and champion of my cause does not take the initiative; he waits to see what my enemies intend to do. How then do those behave at whose instigation Publius Sestius has been put on trial? Having occupied the forum, the comitium, and the Senate House late at night with armed men, for the most part slaves, they attack Fabricius, lay hands upon him, kill some of his party, wound many. [76] As that excellent and most steadfast man, Marcus Cispius, a tribune of the commons, was coming into the Forum, they drive him away by force, wreak great slaughter in the Forum, and then all together, their swords drawn and dripping with blood, it was my brother, my excellent, my most brave and devoted brother, that they began to search for, to clamour for, in every quarter of the Forum. Gladly, amid all his sorrow and yearning for me, would he have faced their weapons, not to offer resistance, but to meet death, had he not reserved his life for the hope of my restoration. Yet he could not escape the infamous violence of those villainous brigands, and having come to beseech the Roman People for his brother's recall, after being driven from the rostra he lay down in the comitium, sheltering himself behind the bodies of slaves and freedmen, and then defended his life by the protection of darkness and flight, not of law and justice. [77] You remember, gentlemen, how the Tiber was filled that day with the bodies of citizens, how the sewers were choked, how blood was mopped up from the Forum with sponges, enough to make everyone think that so great an array and so magnificent a show of gladiators was not provided by any private person, nor by any plebeian, but by a patrician and a praetor.

[36.] L   Neither before that time, nor on that day of disorder, do you bring any charge against Sestius. - "And yet violence took place in the Forum." - Undoubtedly ; in fact, when greater? Time and again have we seen stones thrown ; not so often, but still too often, swords drawn ; but who has ever seen such a massacre, such heaps of slain piled up in the Forum, except perhaps on that day when Cinna and Octavius fought ? And what was the excitement that caused it? A riot often arises from a veto by an obstinate or uncompromising tribune, or from a culpable and unscrupulous proposal meant to win over the ignorant by a promise of advantage ; or again from rivalry between magistrates. It begins imperceptibly ; first comes an uproar, and then a sort of taking of sides within a meeting. But it is only late in the day and seldom that men actually come to blows. But who has ever heard of a riot breaking out in the night, when no word has been said, no meeting summoned, no law publicly read out? [78] Is it likely that any Roman citizen or free man went down into the Forum before daybreak, sword in hand, to prevent my recall being proposed, unless it be those who have long battened on the life-blood of the State, by the agency of that pestilent and abandoned citizen? I now ask the accuser himself, who complains that Publius Sestius was attended by a numerous escort and a large bodyguard during his tribunate, whether he was so attended on that day. Certainly he was not. And that is why the cause of the State was defeated, and defeated not by the auspices, nor by a veto, nor by votes, but by violence, by force, and the sword. For if the praetor, who said that he had watched for signs from the sky, had announced an evil omen to Fabricius, the State would have received a blow, but one which it could survive ; if a colleague had put a veto on Fabricius, he would have injured the State, but would have done so by a constitutional procedure. Are you to send into the Forum before daybreak your raw gladiators, provided for an expected aedileship , with a pack of assassins discharged from prison? are you to drive magistrates from the rostra? are you to wreak great slaughter? are you to empty the Forum and, after you have done all this by force of arms, are you to accuse one who protected himself with a guard, not to attack you, but to defend his own life ? [37.] L   [79] And yet not even since that time has Sestius taken any pains to be guarded by his friends, so as to act as a magistrate in the Forum, and perform his official duties in safety. Accordingly, relying upon the sanctity of his tribunate, and thinking that he was protected by the leges sacratae, not only against violence and the sword, but also against words and interruptions, he went to the Temple of Castor and announced to the consul that there were unfavourable omens. Then suddenly that gang of Clodius', which often before has triumphantly murdered citizens, raises an outcry, rushes on him, attacks him. The tribune is unarmed and off his guard ; some assail him with swords, some with pieces of railing, others with clubs. Covered with wounds from these, wearied out and mangled, he threw himself down exhausted, and escaped with his life only because he was thought to have lost it. When they saw him lying on the ground, hacked with many wounds, collapsed from exhaustion and almost at his last gasp, they at last ceased to strike, more from fatigue and the mistake of thinking him dead than from any feeling of pity or restraint. [80] And is Sestius on trial for violence ? Why so? Because he is alive. But that is not his fault. The final blow was wanting; had that been added, he would have breathed his last. Blame Lentidius! he missed his mark. Abuse Titius, a Sabine from Reate, for crying out so indiscreetly that he was dead! But why accuse Sestius himself? Did he shrink from the sword? Did he resist? Did he fail, as gladiators are ordered to do, to "accept the stroke'' ?

[38.] L   Or is it violence, simply to be unable to die? or that he, a tribune of the commons, stained a temple with his blood ? or that, after he had been carried off and had just recovered his senses, he did not order that he should be carried back ? [81] Where is the ground for accusation ? What fault do you find with him? I now put this question, gentlemen. If on that day this Clodian family had done what it wished, if P. Sestius, who had been left for dead, had been killed, would you have been ready to rush to arms ? would you have been ready to rouse yourselves to the patriotic spirit and courage of your ancestors ? would you at last have been ready to rescue the State from that pernicious brigand? or would you even then have remained quiet, irresolute, and fearful, when you saw the State overthrown and trampled upon by the most execrable assassins and by slaves? As then, if you had any thought of freedom or of upholding the State you would have avenged his death, do you think, since he is still alive, that you should hesitate as to what should be your language, your feelings, your thoughts, your judgment about his deserts? [82] But surely those traitors themselves, whose unbridled frenzy battens on long-continued impunity, were so horrified at the effect of their crime, that if their belief in the death of Sestius had lasted a little longer, they would have been ready to think of putting that Gracchus of theirs to death and shifting the charge upon us. That bumpkin, who did not lack caution - for those villains could not hold their tongues - saw that his own blood was wanted to allay the indignation aroused by the crime of Clodius, picked up a mule-driver's cloak, in which he had originally come to Rome for the Assembly, and covered his head with a reaper's basket. While some were asking for Numerius, and others for Quintius, he was saved through a mistake due to his two names. And you are all aware that he was in danger right up to the time when it became known that Sestius was alive. If this had not been disclosed a little sooner than I could wish, they certainly would not have been able, by killing their own hireling, to shift the odium upon those they thought they could, but they would have lessened the infamy of a heart-rending crime by one that would almost excite gratitude. [83] And if, gentlemen, Publius Sestius had then breathed his last in the Temple of Castor, for he was at the point of death, I have no doubt, if only there were a Senate in the State, if the majesty of the Roman People should come to life again, that a statue would one day be set up to him in the forum as having been slain in defence of the State. And indeed, of those departed heroes whose statues you see, set up by our ancestors, in the Forum and on the rostra, not one would be preferred to Publius Sestius, either because of the cruelty of his death or of his devotion to his country : if he, having undertaken the defence of a citizen threatened with loss of civil rights, of a friend, of one who had deserved well of his country, the defence of the Senate, of Italy, and of the State, if he then, obedient to the auspices and religious observance, having announced an evil omen, had been slain openly in broad daylight, in the sight of gods and men, by those villainous pests, in a most sacred temple, in a most sacred cause, while holding a most sacred office. Will anyone, then, venture to say that in life a man ought to be robbed of his honours, whom in death you would think worthy to be honoured by an everlasting memorial ?

[39.] L   [84] "You bought, you collected, you equipped a force," says the accuser. For what purpose? to besiege the Senate ? to drive out citizens uncondemned ? to pillage their property ? to fire their houses ? to demolish their dwellings ? to set the temples of the Immortal Gods in flames? to drive tribunes of the commons from the rostra with the sword ? to sell what provinces he pleased to whom he pleased ? to style men kings ? to send commissioners of ours to bring back into independent states men convicted of capital offences ? to beleaguer the leading man of the State ? To be able to do these things, which was utterly impossible unless the State had been crushed by force of arms - this was the reason, I suppose, why Publius Sestius got together his band and his forces! ''But," says my opponent, "the time was not yet ripe; the situation itself was not yet obliging good citizens to resort to such measures of protection." I had been driven out, certainly not altogether by your band alone, Clodius, but yet not without its help ; - you all mourned without saying a word. [85] The forum had been seized in the year before last, and the Temple of Castor garrisoned by runaway slaves, as if it were a sort of fortress ; - not a word! All business was carried on amid the uproar, the disturbances, the violence, the attacks of men rendered desperate by poverty and recklessness ; - you bore it patiently. Magistrates were driven from temples; others were debarred from coming near, kept out of the Forum ; no man resisted. Gladiators belonging to a praetor's retinue were arrested, brought into the Senate, made to confess, put in chains by Milo, set free by Serranus ; it was never mentioned. The Forum was strewn with the bodies of Roman citizens murdered by night ; not only was no special commission appointed, but even the existing courts were suppressed. You saw a tribune of the commons lying on the ground, with more than twenty wounds, at the point of death ; the house of another tribune of the commons - one noble beyond the measure of man - for I am going to say what I feel and what everyone feels with me - beyond the measure of man, one for greatness of spirit, for dignity, for loyalty, pre-eminent, paramount, unapproached, was attacked with fire and sword by the army of Clodius.

[40.] L   [86] Even you praise Milo's conduct in this connexion, and rightly so. For where have we ever seen a man of such immortal courage ? who without expectation of any reward, except that which is now considered stale and contemptible, the esteem of good citizens, took upon himself all dangers, grievous toils, most painful struggles and enmities ; who appears to me to be the only citizen who taught, by deed and not by words, both what should and must be done in the State by leading men; that it was their duty to resist the crimes of reckless men, men who would overthrow the State, by means of the laws and courts of law ; if the laws had no force and there were no courts of law, if the State were shackled by violence and crushed by a conspiracy of desperadoes, then life and liberty must be defended by a protecting force. To understand this is a sign of wisdom, to act accordingly, of courage : both to understand and to act, a sign of perfect and consummate merit.

[87] Milo, as a tribune of the commons, took up the cause of the State. I propose to say more in his praise, not because he would himself wish my words to be spoken rather than to remain matters of opinion, nor because I would gladly address these compliments to him in person, especially since I cannot find words to express them ; but because I think that if I have shown that Milo's case has been commended by Sestius' prosecutor, you will consider that Sestius has an equally good case against the charge brought against him. Milo then took up the cause of the State with the desire to restore a citizen who had been violently taken from it. His purpose was simple, his method was consistent, fully supported by general agreement and complete unanimity. He had his colleagues to help him; one consul showed the greatest cordiality on his behalf, the other was almost reconciled to him ; of the praetors one was unfavourable to him ; the enthusiasm of the Senate was extraordinary, the spirit of the Roman knights was aroused in his cause, Italy was on the tiptoe of expectation. Two men only had been bought to offer obstruction ; and if those despicable and contemptible men should prove unequal to so great a task, he saw that he would carry through the cause which he had undertaken without difficulty. He acted with energy, with judgment, with the sanction of that exalted Order of the Senate, with the example of loyal and brave citizens before him ; he most carefully considered what was worthy of the State, what was worthy of himself, who he was, what he felt bound to hope for, what was due to the traditions of his ancestors.

[41.] L   [88] That gladiator felt that he could not be a match for a man of such determination if he acted only according to established rules. He had recourse to arms, to firebrands, to daily assassination, incendiarism, and pillage with his army ; he proceeded to attack his house, to lie in wait for his passage, to assault and threaten him with violence. But that most firm and resolute man could not be disconcerted. Although his indignation, his natural spirit of liberty, his ready and surpassing courage urged that most gallant of men to meet force with force, to break down and repel the violence directed against him, and that repeatedly ; so great was his moderation, so great his wisdom, that he restrained his indignation, and did not avenge himself by the same means by which he had been provoked, but endeavoured, if he could, to bind tight in the meshes of the law the man who was dancing and leaping for joy at all the disasters of the State. [89] He came down to court to prosecute him. Who ever did this so specially for public reasons - without enmity, without reward, without solicitation, or even without any expectation that he would ever do so? The fellow's courage was broken; for with such an accuser he had no hope of a disgraceful farce like his former trial. Then, lo and behold, a consul, a praetor, a tribune of the commons published new edicts of a new kind: "Let not the accused appear, let him not be summoned, let there be no inquiry, let no one be allowed ever to mention judges or judicial proceedings." What was a man to do, who was born for courage, honour, and glory, when the violence of scoundrels was reinforced, laws and proceedings abolished ? Was a tribune of the commons to be at the mercy of a private person, a man of high excellence at the mercy of a complete scoundrel? Was he to abandon the cause he had undertaken? Was he to shut himself up in his house? He thought that to accept defeat, to be frightened off, to take to hiding, was dishonour; he so acted that, since he was not allowed to invoke the law against Clodius, he need not fear his violence, whether it was himself or the State that was in danger.

[42.] L   [90] How then is it that, in this matter of getting together a bodyguard, you make it a crime in Sestius, while at the same time you make it a merit in Milo? Or does the man who defends his home, who repels sword and fire from altar and hearth, who desires that he may be allowed to appear without danger in the forum, on the rostra, in the Senate ; - does he get together an armed force lawfully ? But the man who is warned by the wounds which he sees daily all over his body, to protect his head and neck and throat and sides by some defence - think you that he should be accused of violence ? [91] For which of us, gentlemen, does not know the natural course of human history - how there was once a time, before either natural or civil law had been formulated, when men roamed, scattered and dispersed over the country, and had no other possessions than just so much as they had been able either to seize by strength and violence, or keep at the cost of slaughter and wounds ? So then those who at first showed themselves to be most eminent for merit and wisdom, having perceived the essential teachableness of human nature, gathered together and brought them from that state of savagery to one of justice and humanity. Then things serving for common use, which we call public, associations of men, which were afterwards called states, then continuous series of dwelling-places which we call cities, they enclosed with walls, after divine and human law had been introduced. [92] Now, between this refined and humane life, and that life of savagery, nothing marks the difference so clearly as law and violence. Whichever of the two we are unwilling to use, we must use the other. If we would have violence abolished, law must prevail, that is the administration of justice, on which law wholly depends ; if we dislike the administration of justice, or if there is none, force must rule. All are aware of this ; Milo both knew it and so acted as to make trial of law, but to repel force. He was desirous to make use of the first, that virtue might overcome audacity ; he was compelled to use the second, that virtue might not be overcome by audacity. And Sestius' method was the same, if not in regard to prosecution - for it was not necessary for every one to do the same - yet certainly in regard to the necessity of defending his life and assembling a bodyguard to protect himself against force and violence.

[43.] L   [93] Immortal Gods! what is the issue that you reserve for us? What hope do you grant to the State ? how few men will be found so courageous as to undertake the defence of the State in every just cause, to devote themselves to the service of loyal citizens, to seek solid and true glory ? when they think upon Gabinius and Piso, those two men who brought the State to the brink of ruin! when they know how the one is daily draining from the treasure-houses of Syria, that rich land now completely pacified, an enormous mass of gold, waging war upon quiet peoples, that he may pour into the bottomless whirlpool of his lusts their ancient and untouched wealth; how he is building for all men to see a mansion of such extent that that villa would seem to be a hut by comparison, which this very man when he was tribune of the commons once displayed in a picture before meetings, in the character of an honest and unselfish man, that he might excite your indignation against one of the bravest and best of citizens ; - [94] and the other, when they know how he first sold peace to the Thracians and Dardanians for an immense sum, and next, that they might be able to make up the money, handed Macedonia over to them to harass and rob; and how he also divided the goods of creditors, citizens of Rome, among Greeks who were their debtors ; how he is extorting large sums from the people of Dyrrachium, and robbing the Thessalians, how he has imposed upon the people of Achaia a fixed annual tax, and has not left in any public or consecrated place a single statue or picture or ornament, - when they know, I say, that these two men, to whom every kind of punishment and every penalty are most justly due, are acting with such insolence, while these two whom you see before you are on their trial. I say nothing now of Numerius, Serranus, Aelius, the drift ing refuse of the Clodian revolutionaries ; and yet these men also even now are fluttering about, as you see ; nor, as long as you are afraid about yourselves, will these others have any fear about themselves.

[44.] L   [95] For what am I to say about the aedile himself, who even gave notice that he would bring an action against Milo, and prosecuted him for violence ? No doubt Milo will never be prevailed upon by any outrage to regret having shown such courage and resolution in state affairs. But the young men who see these things, whither will they turn their thoughts ? The man who attacked, destroyed, and burnt public monuments, sacred temples, and the houses of his enemies ; the man who has always been closely fenced in by assassins, guarded by armed men, fortified by informers, of whom at the present day there is an abundant supply, who has incited to violence a band of foreign scoundrels, has bought slaves ready for murder, and during his tribunate has emptied the whole jail into the forum, now flutters about as aedile, and prosecutes the man who to some extent checked his exultant fury ; while he who protected himself only so as to be able to defend, as a private individual, the gods of his home, and, in his public capacity as a magistrate, the rights of the tribunate and the auspices, has not been allowed by a resolution of the Senate to prosecute dispassionately the man by whom he himself is prosecuted with such virulence. [96] This is no doubt the reason why, in the body of the charge, you made a point of asking me especially what was the meaning of our "Breed of Aristocrats," to use your own term. You ask about a matter, which is most proper for the young to learn, while it is not difficult for me to offer full instruction ; and I will say a few words about it, gentlemen, nor, I think, will what I say be irrelevant, either to the advantage of those who hear me, or to the discharge of your duties, or to the case itself of Publius Sestius.

[45.] L   There have always been two classes of men in this State who have sought to engage in public affairs and to distinguish themselves in them. Of these two classes, one aimed at being, by repute and in reality, "Friends of the People" {populares}, the other "Aristocrats" {optimates}. Those who wished everything they did and said to be agreeable to the masses were reckoned as ''Friends of the People," but those who acted so as to win by their policy the approval of all the best citizens were reckoned as "Aristocrats." [97] "Who then are these 'Best Citizens' of yours?" In number, if you ask me, they are infinite; for otherwise we could not exist. They include those who direct the policy of the State, with those who follow their lead. They include those very large classes to whom the Senate is open ; they include Romans living in municipal towns and in country districts ; they include men of business ; freedmen also are among the "Aristocrats." In its numbers, I repeat, this class is spread far and wide and is variously composed. But, to prevent misunderstanding, the whole class can be summed-up and defined in a few words. All are "Aristocrats" who are neither criminal nor vicious in disposition, nor frantic, nor harassed by troubles in their households. It follows, then, that those who are upright, sound in mind, and easy in circumstances are those whom you have called a "Breed." Those who serve the wishes, the interests and principles of these men in the government of the State are called the champions of the "Aristocrats" and are themselves reckoned as the most influential of the "Aristocrats," the most eminent citizens, and the leaders of the State. [98] What then is the mark set before those who guide the helm of state, upon which they ought to keep their eyes and towards which they ought to direct their course ? It is that which is far the best and the most desirable for all who are sound and good and prosperous; it is "peace with dignity." Those who desire this are all reckoned as ''Aristocrats," those who achieve it as the foremost men and the saviours of the State. For just as it ill befits men to be so carried away by the dignity of a public career that they are indifferent in peace, so too it is unfitting for them to welcome a peace which is inconsistent with dignity.

[46.] L   Now this "peace with dignity" has the following foundations, the following elements, which our leaders ought to protect and defend even at the risk of life itself : religious observances, the auspices, the powers of the magistrates, the authority of the Senate, the laws, ancestral custom, criminal and civil jurisdiction, credit, our provinces, our allies, the renown of our sovereignty, the army, the treasury.

[99] To be a defender and an advocate of so many and so important interests requires an exalted spirit, great ability, and great resolution. For, in so large a body of citizens, there are great numbers of men who, either from fear of punishment, being conscious of their crimes, seek to cause revolution and changes of government ; or who, owing to a sort of inborn revolutionary madness, batten on civil discord and sedition ; or who, on account of embarrassment in their finances, prefer a general conflagration to their own ruin. When such men as these have found advisers and leaders for their vicious aims, storms are aroused in the commonwealth, so that those who have hitherto claimed possession of the helm of state must watch and strive with all their skill and devotion that they may be able, without any damage to those foundations and elements of which I have just spoken, to keep on their course and to reach that haven of "peace with dignity." [100] If I were to deny, gentlemen, that this course is stormy and difficult, perilous and treacherous, I should be telling a lie, the less excusable since not only have I always understood it to be so, but experience also has convinced me more than anyone else.

[47.] L   There are greater forces and means for attacking than for defending the State. The reason is, that reckless and abandoned men need only a nod to set them moving, and their own natural disposition incites them against the State ; while honest folk somehow or other show less activity, neglect the beginnings of movements, and are aroused to action at the last moment only by simple necessity; so that sometimes, owing to their hesitation and indolence, while they wish still to enjoy peace even with the loss of dignity, through their own fault they lose both. [101] But among those who have wished to be defenders of the State, the weaker desert, the more timid are not to be found, those only remain firm and endure everything for the sake of the State who are like your father, Marcus Scaurus, who resisted all revolutionaries from Gaius Gracchus to Quintus Varius, whom no violence, no threats, no unpopularity ever caused to waver; or like Q. Metellus, your mother's uncle, who, in his censorship, after he had placed his ban on L. Saturninus, a notable leader of the popular persuasion, and after he had excluded from the list of citizens, in spite of the violence of an excited mob, one who claimed to be a Gracchus but was an impostor, and after he alone had refused to take an oath to a law which he judged to have been illegally proposed, preferred to renounce his country rather than his principles ; or - not to recall so many ancient examples, the number of which is worthy of the glory of this Empire, and without mentioning by name any of the great men still alive - such a man as Quintus Catulus lately was, whom neither danger's stormy wind nor honour's gentle air could ever deflect from his course either by hope or by fear.

[48.] L   [102] Imitate these examples, I beg you in the name of the Immortal Gods, you who aspire to dignity, praise, and glory! These examples are glorious, they are superhuman, they are immortal ; they are proclaimed in common talk, are committed to the records of history, are handed down to posterity. It is a difficult task; I do not deny it. There are great risks; I confess it. Most truly has it been said :   { Accius, 'Atreus' }
  Many the snares that for the good are set,

but the poet adds :
  What many envy, many strive to win,
  For you to claim is foolishness, unless
  You summon all your toil and all your care
  To win it.

I could wish that the same poet had not elsewhere used words for evil-minded men to lay hold of :
  Let them hate, so but they fear;

for in those others he had given the young excellent advice. [103] But formerly those who followed this path and principle in affairs of state had far more to fear, for in many ways the desire of the masses and the advantage of the People did not agree with the public interest. A law to provide for voting by ballot was proposed by Lucius Cassius. The People thought that their liberty was at stake. The leaders of the State held a different opinion; in a matter that concerned the interests of the optimates, they dreaded the impetuosity of the masses and the licence afforded by the ballot. Tiberius Gracchus proposed an agrarian law. The law was acceptable to the People : the fortunes of the poorer classes seemed likely to be established. The optimates opposed it, because they saw in it an incentive to dissension, and also thought that the State would be stripped of its champions by the eviction of the rich from their long-established tenancies. Gaius Gracchus brought forward a corn law. It was agreeable to the masses, for it provided food in abundance without work. Loyal citizens were against it, because they thought that it was a call to the masses to desert industry for idleness, and saw that it was a drain upon the treasury.

[49.] L   Many matters also within my own recollection, which I purposely leave unnoticed, were subjects of dispute, for in them the desires of the People did not agree with the views of the leading men. [104] But just at the present time there is no reason for the People to disagree with their picked and chief men. They demand nothing, they do not desire revolution, they delight in their own peace, in the dignity of the "Best Men," and in the glory of the whole state. And so those who are for revolution and riot, unable any longer to arouse the Roman People by state-bounty, because the common folk, after passing through so many serious insurrections and disorders, welcome peace - they now hold meetings packed with hirelings, nor is it their aim to say or propose what those present wish to hear, but they use corruption and bribery to make it appear that everything they say is listened to with pleasure. [105] Do you suppose that the Gracchi, or Saturninus, or any of those men of former times who were regarded as "Friends of the People," ever had any hired supporter at a meeting ? No-one had ; for state-bounty itself and hope of some privilege offered to them aroused the masses without any need of bribery. And so, in those times, those who were "Friends of the People" certainly gave offence to serious and honourable men but won regard from every demonstration of popular approval. They were applauded in the theatre ; they obtained by votes whatever they had striven for; their names, their words, their looks, their bearing, were objects of popular affection. The opponents of that class were considered estimable and great men; but, although they had much influence in the Senate, and were highly esteemed by loyal citizens, they were not acceptable to the masses ; their purpose was often thwarted by the voters, and even if any of them was ever applauded, he was afraid that he had done something wrong. And yet in any matter of high importance, it was by their authority that that same People was chiefly influenced.

[50.] L   [106] At present, unless I am mistaken, such is the political situation, that apart from bands of hirelings, all citizens seem likely to hold the same opinion in regard to public affairs. For the opinion and feeling of the Roman People in public affairs can be most clearly expressed on three occasions, at a meeting, at an Assembly, at a gathering for plays and gladiatorial shows. What meeting has been held within these years - I mean one that has not been packed with hirelings, but a real one worthy of the name - in which the unanimous agreement of the Roman People could not be clearly seen? Many were summoned about myself by a most scoundrelly gladiator, which were attended by no one who was not bribed nor by any honest citizen; no good man could look upon that repulsive face, nor listen to that raving voice. Those meetings of scoundrels could not be other than stormy. [107] Publius Lentulus, when consul, held a meeting, also about myself; the Roman People came in crowds; men of all ranks, all Italy, stood there. He pleaded his cause with the greatest weight and eloquence ; the silence and the approval of all present were so intense that it seemed as if nothing so popular had ever reached the ears of the Roman People. He brought forward Gnaeus Pompeius, who not only showed himself as a champion of my welfare, but also as a suppliant of the Roman People. A speech by him had always been impressive and listened to with pleasure at meetings ; yet I maintain that his opinion never had greater authority nor his eloquence greater charm. [108] What a silence there was, to hear the rest of the leading men of the State when they spoke of me! I pass by their names in this place, for fear that my words might seem ungrateful, if I were to speak inadequately of one or other of them, while, if I were to say all that I ought to say of them all, I should never finish. Now compare the speech of that same enemy of mine, also about myself, delivered in the Campus Martius before the real People! Who was there who did not disapprove of it - no, did not consider it utterly disgraceful - I will not say, that he should speak, but that he should live and breathe ? Who was there who did not think that his voice polluted the State and that he himself, if he listened to him, would be an accomplice in his crime ?

[51.] L   [109] I now come to the Assemblies, whatever their purpose, whether for the election of magistrates or the passing of laws. We are aware that many laws are often passed. I say nothing about those which are passed under such conditions that scarcely five in each tribe, and those not from their own tribe, are found to vote. That curse of the State says that he passed a law concerning myself, whom he used to call a tyrant and destroyer of liberty. Who is there who admits that he recorded his vote for the proposition against me ? But when, in accordance with a decree of the Senate, a law was brought forward at the comitia centuriata also about myself, who was there who did not proclaim that he had been present and had voted for my recall? Which cause, then, of the two ought to be considered the popular one ? that in which all the respectable men of the State, men of all ages, and all classes, are animated by the same spirit, or that in which frenzied furies flock together as it were to the funeral of the State? [110] Or, if a Gellius shows himself anywhere, a man unworthy alike of his distinguished brother, that excellent consul, and of the Equestrian Order, of which rank he still keeps the name but has squandered the trappings, will that be popular? "Yes, for he is a man devoted to the Roman People." I have never seen anything more so! A man who in youth might have derived reflected glory from the distinguished career of that eminent man his stepfather, Lucius Philippus, was so far not a "Friend of the People" that he consumed all his substance by himself. Then, after a youth of shameful viciousness, after he had reduced his paternal inheritance from vulgar wealth to philosophic penury, he wanted to be thought a wit and a man of leisure, and suddenly devoted himself to the study of literature. The delicacies of his reader gave him no pleasure ; his books were often actually pledged for wine ; his belly remained insatiable, supplies ran out. He was therefore always living in the hope of a revolution; while the State was quiet and peaceful, he grew senile.

[52.] L   Was there ever any riot in which he was not the leader? any rioter with whom he was not intimate ? any disorderly meeting where he was not the ringleader? has he ever said a good word of an honest man ? - said a good word? rather, what brave and loyal citizen has he not attacked most wantonly ? and has married a freedwoman, not, I suppose, to gratify his lust, but that he might appear to be "a friend of the commons." [111] He voted about me ; he was present at, he shared in, the banquets and jubilations of those traitors to their country ; and yet there he avenged me, when with those lips he slobbered my enemies. Just as if it was my fault that he lost his property, he is my enemy just because he has nothing. Did I rob you of your inheritance, Gellius, or did you yourself devour it? Again, was it at my risk, you spendthrift and waster of your inheritance, that you were to gormandize, so that, if I when consul defended the State against you and your cronies, you would be resolved that I should not remain in it? None of your relatives want to see you ; they all run when they see you coming, will not talk with you nor meet you. Your nephew Postumius, a serious youth with an old man's judgment, showed his disapproval of you by not appointing you as a guardian of his children amongst a large number of others. But I have let myself be carried away by my hatred of him, for my country's sake as well as my own - I do not know which of the two he hates the more - and I have said more than I ought to have said against a frenzied and penniless waster. [112] I turn to what I was saying. When proceedings were taken against me, when the city was captured and crushed, Gellius, Firmidius, Titius, madmen of the same type, acted as leaders and directors of those bands of hirelings, while the proposer of the law himself yielded to none of them in baseness, effrontery, and vileness. But when it was proposed that my honour should be restored, no one thought himself sufficiently excused by ill-health or old age from staying away ; there was no one who did not feel that in recalling me he was recalling the State to its own home.

[53.] L   [113] Let us now consider Assemblies for the election of magistrates. Of late there was a college of tribunes, three of whom were considered by no means "Friends of the People," two extremely so. Of these three who were not considered "Friends of the People," and who were not strong enough to maintain their ground in those meetings packed with hirelings I have mentioned, I see that two have been made praetors by the Roman People ; and, so far as I have been able to judge from the talk and votes of the commons, the Roman People openly declared that, although Gnaeus Domitius and Quintus Ancharius had not been able to accomplish anything during their tribunate, the stedfast and excellent spirit of the former and the loyalty and courage of the latter were nevertheless welcome by the mere goodwill they showed. As for Gaius Fannius, we are aware now what public opinion thinks of him. No one ought to have any doubt what the judgment of the Roman People will be in regard to his candidature for offices. [114] Well, then, how did those two tribunes fare who were "Friends of the People"? One of them, who, however, had kept himself within the bounds of moderation, had proposed no law, had merely held different political opinions from what people expected. He was a worthy man, of blameless life, and always esteemed by honest men; but because during his tribunate he naturally failed to understand what the real People desired, and because he thought that an audience at a meeting was the Roman People, he did not reach that position which he might have easily attained, had he not desired to be a "Friend of the People." The other, who had made such a parade of being a "Friend of the People " that he thought nothing of the auspices, the Aelian Law, the will of the Senate, a consul, his colleagues, the esteem of honest men, became a candidate for the aedileship together with loyal citizens and men of the highest rank, but not remarkable either for wealth or for influence. He did not receive the votes of his own tribe : he lost even the Palatine tribe, which was said to help all these villains to trouble their country ; nor did he get anything at that Assembly which loyalists would like him to get, except rejection. You see, then, that the People themselves are, if I may say so, by now no longer "all for the People," seeing that they so vigorously reject those who are considered "Friends of the People," but judge those who are opposed to that class to be most worthy of public office.

[54.] L   [115] Let us now come to the shows: for your attention, gentlemen, and the manner in which you direct your eyes to me, make me believe that I may now speak in a lighter vein. Expressions of public opinion at Assemblies and at meetings are sometimes the voice of truth, but sometimes they are falsified and corrupt: at theatrical and gladiatorial shows it is said to be common for some feeble and scanty applause to be started by a hired and unprincipled claque, and yet, when that happens, it is easy to see how and by whom it is started and what the honest part of the audience does. Why should I tell you today what men or what class of citizens is chiefly applauded? Not one of you fails to understand. Suppose applause to be a trivial matter, which it is not, since it is given to all the best citizens ; but if it is trivial, it is so only to a man of character, but to those who depend upon the merest trifles, who are controlled and governed by rumour and, as they themselves put it, by the favour of the People, applause must seem immortality, and hissing death. [116] I therefore ask you particularly, Scaurus, you who gave most magnificently appointed shows, did any one of those "Friends of the People" visit your shows, or venture to appear in the theatre before the Roman People? That arch-comedian himself, not merely a spectator, but an actor and virtuoso, who knows all the pantomimic interludes of his sister, who is admitted into a party of women in the guise of a harp-girl, neither visited your shows during that fiery tribunate of his, nor any others except once when he scarcely escaped alive. Once only, I say, did that man who was a "Friend of the People" venture to show himself at the games, when in the Temple of Virtue honour was paid to merit, and the monument of Gaius Marius, saviour of our Empire, afforded his fellow-townsman and defender of the State a place for securing his own recall.

[55.] L   [117] What feelings the Roman People showed that they entertained at that time, was made plain in both ways. First, when the decree of the Senate had been heard, unanimous applause was given to the measure itself, and to the Senate, before they came in ; next, to the senators, when they returned one by one from the Senate to see the shows. But when the consul himself, who gave the entertainment, took his seat, people stood up with outstretched hands, giving thanks, and weeping for joy openly showed their goodwill and sympathy for myself. But when Clodius arrived, that raging fiend, at the height of his frenzy, the Roman People could scarcely restrain themselves, men could scarcely help wreaking their hatred upon his foul and abominable person; cries, menacing gestures, loud curses came in a flood from all. [118] But why do I speak of the spirit and courage of the Roman People, when at last after long servitude they had a glimpse of freedom, in their attitude towards a man whom even the actors did not spare to his face as he sat in the audience, though he was then a candidate for an aedileship ! For when a comedy, 'The Pretender', I fancy, was being performed, the whole company, speaking all together in loud tones, bent forward threateningly and looking straight at the foul wretch, loudly chanted the words,
  This, Titus, is the sequel, the end of your vicious life !

He sat utterly disconcerted, and the man who used to make his meetings resound with the hoots of a ribald claque was hooted away by the speech of genuine actors. And since I have mentioned theatrical performances, I will not omit to say that, among many and varied reflections in the comedy, there was never a passage, seeming, from the poet's words, to have some bearing on our times, either where the whole People failed to grasp, or where the actor himself failed to give, the special point. [119] And here, gentlemen, I beg you not to think that any spirit of levity has led me to fall into an unusual method of speaking, if I talk about poets, actors, and plays in the course of a trial.

[56.] L   I am not so ignorant of legal proceedings, gentlemen, not so unaccustomed to speaking, as to hunt for what I intend to say from every kind of subject, and to pluck and cull all kinds of flowers of speech from every source. I know what is due to your dignity, to this body of counsel, that gathering of citizens, what the high character of Publius Sestius, the greatness of his danger, my age, and my position demand. But on this occasion I have undertaken, if I may say so, to instruct our youth, as to who are the "Aristocrats." In making that clear, I must show that not all those are "Friends of the People" who are thought to be so. I shall most easily be able to do that, if I describe the true and uncorrupted judgment of the whole People, and the inmost feelings of the country. [120] What, then, do you think of this? When news had just been brought to the shows and to the stage of that decree of the Senate which was passed in the Temple of Virtue, before a vast audience a great artist who, upon my soul, has always played a most noble part in public life as well as on the stage, weeping with joy still fresh, with mingled grief and longing for me, pleaded my cause before the Roman People in much weightier words than I could have pleaded myself! For he expressed the genius of a great poet not only by the exercise of his art, but also by his own grief. For while he uttered the words : { Accius, 'Eurysaces' }
  Who with firm spirit helped the public cause,
  Upheld it, ever stood with the Achivi -

with what force he made it clear that I had stood on your side, as he pointed to your assembled Orders ! He was encored by all when he went on to say :
  In wavering affairs did never waver
  His life to offer, nor did spare his head.

[121] What shouts of applause greeted his performance of this passage, when they took no notice of the acting, but applauded the words of the poet, the earnestness of the actor and the hope of my recall !
  Our greatest friend, in this our greatest war.
The actor himself added the words :
  Endowed with greatest genius

out of friendship for me, and perhaps the spectators approved owing to some regret for my absence.

[57.] L   A little later in the same play, how the Roman People groaned when they heard these words spoken by the same actor !
  O my father!

He thought that it was I, I in my absence, who ought to be lamented as a father, whom Quintus Catulus and many others in the Senate had often called "Father of his Country." How he wept as he spoke of the burning and destruction of my house, when lamenting an exiled father, his afflicted fatherland, his house burnt and ruined, where his acting was so pathetic, that after having described his former prosperity, he turned to the audience with the words :
  All these things I have seen in flames,

and drew tears even from my enemies and from my detractors! [122] And then again, by heaven, how he declaimed these other words ! - words which seemed to me to have been so delivered and written that they might well have been uttered even by Quintus Catulus, had he come to life again ; for he was sometimes in the habit of freely censuring and blaming rashness by the People or error by the Senate :
  O thankless Argives, disobliging Greeks,
  Forgetful of past kindness !

No, that was not true, for they were not ungrateful, but unfortunate, because they were not permitted to save him who had saved them, nor has anyone ever found one person more grateful to anyone than they have all been to me. But, be that as it may, a most eloquent poet must have written the following words in my interest, and the actor, as remarkable for his courage as for his acting, applied them to me, when he pointed to all the Orders and accused the Senate, the Roman knights, and the entire Roman People :
  A banished man you leave him ; you consent,
  As you consented to his banishment !

How on that occasion the whole audience indicated their feelings, how the whole Roman People declared their goodwill for a man who was not a "Friend of the People," I heard by report ; those who were present can more readily estimate.

[58.] L   [123] And since my speech has led me thus far, the actor bewailed my lot so often, as he pleaded my cause with such emotion, that that splendid voice of his was choked with tears; nor did the poets, whose talents have always been my delight, fail me in my trouble; and the Roman People showed, not only by applause but also by lamentation, how much they approved of these allusions. Ought then Aesopus or Accius to have pleaded thus for me, had the Roman People been free, or ought the chief men of the State? In the 'Brutus' I was mentioned by name :
  Tullius, who stablished safe the people's freedom.

The line was encored a thousand times. Did the Roman People fail to express their judgment, that what scoundrels charged us with overthrowing had in fact been established by myself and the Senate ? [124] But the strongest expression of the judgment of the whole Roman People was plainly given by an audience at gladiatorial games. They were a show given by Scipio, one worthy both of the giver and of Quintus Metellus in whose honour it was given. And it was that kind of show which is attended by crowds of all classes in great numbers, and which has a special charm for the masses. Into that crowd of spectators came Publius Sestius, then tribune of the commons, who was wholly devoted to my cause during his term of office ; he came and showed himself to the People, not that he was eager for applause, but he wished that our enemies themselves might recognise the goodwill of the whole Roman People. He came, as you know, from the Maenian Column. At once from all the spectators' seats right down from the Capitol, and from all the barriers? of the forum, there were heard such shouts of applause, that it was said that the whole Roman People had never shown greater nor more manifest unanimity in any cause. [125] Where then were those who lord over meetings, who tyrannise over laws, who drive citizens into exile? Or have those traitors some other People of their own, to whom I have been odious and hateful ? [59.] L   I for my part think that there has never been a greater crowd than at that gladiatorial show, neither at any meeting nor indeed at any Assembly. What then did this countless throng of men, this unanimous expression of the feeling of the entire Roman People, at the very time when it was thought that my recall was going to be dealt with - what did it declare except that the welfare and honour of the best citizens was dear to the whole Roman People? [126] But that praetor, who used to put question about me to a meeting, not like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather nor indeed any of his ancestors, but after the fashion of mere Greeklings, "Did they want me to return?", and when the half-dead voices of his hirelings had shouted back "No !", used to say that the Roman People were against my return - he, although he was present every day at the gladiatorial games, was never seen when he came. He used to creep up underneath the flooring and appear all of a sudden, as though he were going to cry out : { Pacuvius, 'Iliona' }
  Mother, to thee I cry !

And so that somewhat skulking path by which Appius came to see the games began to be called "The Appian Way." Yet, whenever he was seen, not only the gladiators, but the very horses of the gladiators took fright at the sudden hissings. [127] Do you see, then, how great is the difference between the Roman People and a meeting? that those who tyrannise over meetings are branded with every mark of hatred by the People ? but that those who are not allowed a place at meetings of hirelings, are adorned with every mark of goodwill by the Roman People ?

Do you also remind me how Marcus Atilius Regulus preferred to return himself to Carthage of his own free will, to meet his punishment, rather than to remain at Rome without those prisoners from among whom he had been sent to the Senate, and do you say that I ought not to have desired a return secured by armed men and by the enrolment of slaves?

[60.] L   Violence ! of course I desired violence, when I did nothing as long as violence ruled, and when nothing would have been able to overthrow me, if it had not been for violence ! [128] Was I to reject that return of mine, so brilliant that I fear it may be thought that the desire of glory made me leave Rome just that I might have such a return? What citizen, except myself, has ever been commended to foreign peoples by the Senate? For whose welfare, except mine, has the Senate ever officially thanked the allies of the Roman People? I am the only man for whom the members of the Senate have decreed that those who held provinces with military command, and those who were quaestors or legates, should be answerable for my welfare and life. On my behalf alone, since the foundation of Rome, has it happened that in accordance with a decree of the Senate all those who had the interests of the State at heart should be summoned from all Italy by letter from the consuls. What the Senate has never decreed when the whole State was in danger, it thought fit to decree for my salvation alone. Whom has the Senate House missed more ? whom has the forum lamented more ? whose absence have the Courts themselves regretted as much? When I withdrew, all was deserted, grim, silent, full of grief and mourning. What place in Italy is there, in which there is not engraved on public monuments zeal for my welfare and testimony to my worth ?

[61.] L   [129] Why need I mention those decrees of the Senate, full of more than human goodwill towards me? or what took place in the Temple of Jupiter Best and Greatest, when that hero, who marked three separate regions and divisions of the world as having been added to our Empire by his three triumphs, delivering his speech from writing, declared that I alone had saved the State; his opinion was adopted by a crowded Senate, with one dissentient only, and he my enemy, and the fact was committed to the public records for the eternal remembrance of future ages ; or what was decreed on the next day in the Senate House, at the suggestion of the Roman People itself and of those who had come together from the municipal towns, - that no one should watch for signs from the heavens, nor attempt to stop proceedings ; and that anyone who did otherwise would clearly be a destroyer of the constitution, and that the Senate would take a most grave view of such an act ; and that the matter should at once be referred to it for consideration. And although a well-attended Senate had thus checked by its own solemn act the criminal audacity of a few, it further added, that if a vote should be delayed for more than five days on which a resolution about me might be made, I might return to my country and recover all my rights.

[62.] L   At the same time, the Senate decreed that those who had assembled from all parts of Italy to procure my recall should be thanked, and that they should be asked to return when business was resumed. [130] So great a rivalry was there in the endeavour to ensure my welfare, that those whom the Senate solicited in my cause themselves implored the Senate on my behalf. And so, in these proceedings, only one man was found to dissent openly from the goodwill of loyal citizens so strongly expressed. Even Quintus Metellus the consul, who in consequence of great political controversies had been most unfriendly to me, introduced a motion for my recall. Moved both by the great influence of the Senate, and by the almost incredible power of the speech of Publius Servilius when he summoned nearly all the Metelli from the lower world, and had turned the thoughts of his relative away from the Clodian acts of brigandage to the honour of that family to which they both belonged; when he had recalled him to the recollection of an example from that house, and of the fate (was it glorious or regrettable ?) of the great Metellus Numidicus - then that illustrious man, a true Metellus, burst into tears, and gave himself up wholly to Publius Servilius while he was still speaking ; nor could he, a man of the same blood, any longer resist that god-like impressiveness, so full of the spirit of days of old; and, without waiting for my return, he became reconciled to me by his generous action. [131] And assuredly, if great men have any consciousness beyond the grave, then indeed his action was most welcome to all the Metelli, and above all to one, to that bravest of men and that most excellent of citizens, his brother, who shared my labours, my dangers and my counsels.

[63.] L   But who does not know what my return was like? how the people of Brundisium held out to me on my way home the right hand, as it were, of all Italy, and of my country herself. For that very fifth of August was the birthday of my arrival and return. It was also the birthday of my beloved daughter, whom I then saw for the first time after cruel longing and sorrow, the birthday too of that colony of Brundisium itself, and the birthday, as you know, of the Temple of Salus ; and it was the day when the self-same house of those excellent and most learned men, Marcus Laenius Flaccus and his father and brother, gave me most joyful welcome, which the year before had offered me refuge in grief, and protected me at its own peril. Everywhere, during my journey, all the cities of Italy seemed to be keeping the day of my arrival as a holiday ; the roads were crowded with deputations sent from all parts to meet me; my approach to the city was a triumphal progress amid a vast cheering multitude ; the road from the gate, the way up to the Capitol, my return home were such that in the midst of my great joy I could not help feeling sad when I remembered how this so grateful city had been so unfortunate and so crushed.

[132] Here, then, is my answer to your question : who are the "Aristocrats" ? They are not a "Breed," as you have called them; I recognise the word, for it is the invention of that man by whom more than anyone else Publius Sestius finds himself attacked, that man who wanted this ''Breed" to be destroyed and cut to pieces ; who has often reproached, often accused Gaius Caesar, a man who loves mercy and abhors bloodshed, telling him that as long as this "Breed" existed, he would never be free from anxiety. Not having succeeded against the whole body, he never ceased to deal with me. He attacked me, first through an informer Vettius, whom he publicly questioned, concerning myself and some distinguished citizens. Nevertheless, he involved those citizens in the same accusation and risk with myself, in order to earn my gratitude for having associated me with some most eminent and most gallant gentlemen.

[64.] L   [133] But afterwards, without my having done anything to deserve it, except that I desired to please the loyal, he set on foot against me all kinds of most wicked plots. Every day he carried some fictitious tale about me to those who listened to him ; he warned Gnaeus Pompeius, a very great friend of mine, to fear my house and to beware of me. He had become so intimately associated with my enemy, that Sextus Cloelius, a fellow most worthy of those with whom he lives, asserted that as regards my proscription, which he supported, Vatinius was the writing-tablet but that he was the writer; he was the only man of our Order who openly rejoiced at my departure and at your sorrow. But although he acted like a madman every day, gentlemen, I never said a word about him ; nor, attacked as I was by all kinds of engines of war, by violence, by an army, by great forces, did I think it becoming to complain of a single archer. He says that he disapproves of my acts. Everybody knows that, since he treats with disdain a law of mine, which explicitly forbids anyone to give gladiatorial games within two years of his being a candidate for office either actually or prospectively. [134] In this, gentlemen, I cannot sufficiently admire his audacity. He acts most openly contrary to the law; he does so, and yet he cannot slip out of a judgment by his pleasant manners, nor escape b favour, nor break through laws and courts by wealth and influence. What then makes him so uncontrolled? He got together, I believe, a company of gladiators, impressive, grand, magnificent ; he knew what the people wanted, he foresaw their applause and their crowds. Inspired by this hope, burning with his greed for glory, the fellow could not refrain from exhibiting those gladiators in the arena, himself the handsomest of them all. If that was why he did wrong, carried away by a desire to please the Roman People in return for their recent favour towards him, still no one would forgive him ; but when he did not even choose picked men from the slave-market, but bought men from the farm-prisons,? and provided them with the names of gladiators, cast lots which should be Samnites and which Challengers, does he not fear the probable consequences of such licence and defiance of the laws? [135] But he has two excuses. "In the first place," he says, "I exhibit beast-fighters, and the law refers to gladiators only." A humorous distinction ! Now listen to something still cleverer. He is going to say, "I am not showing gladiators, but one gladiator only ; I have transferred all the cost of my aedileship to his exhibition." What a splendid aedileship! one Lion, two hundred beast-fighters! But let him make use of this excuse; I wish him to have confidence in his cause ; for, when he lacks confidence, he is in the habit of appealing to tribunes of the commons and of breaking up a court by violence. I am not surprised so much at his defying my law, the law of an enemy, but at his having made it his principle not to recognise any consular law as law. He has defied the Caecilian and Didian Law and the Licinian and Junian Law. Does he also refuse to recognise as a law the law of Gaius Caesar against extortion, the man who, he boastfully asserts, has been distinguished, set up in power and armed by a law of his and by his favour? And do they say that there are others who would annul the acts of Caesar, when this most excellent law is disregarded both by his father-in-law and this satellite of his? [65.] L   And now, gentlemen, while bringing this accusation he has dared to exhort you in this case at last to show yourselves severe, and at last to administer some healing remedy to the State! It is not a remedy to apply a lancet to a sound and healthy part of the body ; that is an act of butchery and cruelty. They heal the State who cut out a diseased portion, as some foul growth, from the body of the Commonwealth. [136] But, so that my speech may have some termination, and that I may cease speaking before you cease to listen to me so attentively, I will finish my remarks about the "Aristocrats" and their leaders and about the defenders of the State. You, young Romans, who are nobles by birth, I will rouse to imitate the example of your ancestors; and you who can win nobility by your talents and virtue, I will exhort to follow that career in which many "new men" have covered themselves with honour and glory. [137] Believe me, the only way to esteem, to distinction, and to honour, is to deserve the praise and affection of patriots who are wise and of a good natural disposition and to understand the organisation of the State most wisely established by our ancestors. When the rule of kings had become intolerable to them, the created magistracies to be held for a year only, wit the restriction, that the Senate was set up as a Council over the State for ever, and they ordained that the members of that Council should be chosen by the whole people, and that industry and merit should open the way for admission to that exalted Order for all citizens. The Senate was set up as the guardian, the president, the defender of the State ; they willed that the magistrates should be guided by the authority of this Order, and should act as if they were the ministers of this great Council. Moreover, they wished that the Senate itself should be supported by the prestige of the Orders which came immediately next to it, and should always be ready to protect and enlarge the liberty and interests of the commons.

[66.] L   [138] All those who defend these principles to the best of their power are "Aristocrats," to whatever Order they belong. But those who more than others carry upon their shoulders the burden of such duties and the public administration, are always considered as leaders of the "Aristocrats," as counsellors and saviours of the State. This class of men, I confess (as I have already said), has many opponents, many enemies, many who wish them ill; many perils threaten them, many injustices are inflicted upon them, they have to undertake and to endure great labours. But my speech is wholly addressed to virtue, not to indolence ; to honour, not to sloth ; to those who think they are born for their country, for their fellow-citizens, for esteem, for glory, not for sleep, for feasting, for enjoyment. For if they are led astray by pleasure, and have given themselves up to the seductions of vice and the allurements of desire, let them renounce public office, let them eschew political life, let them be content to enjoy their ease and to owe it to the labour of brave men. [139] But those who seek the reputation of loyal citizens, which alone can be called true glory, ought to seek security and pleasures for others, not for themselves. They must sweat for the common interests; they must expose themselves to enmity ; they must often face storms for the sake of the State; they must be ready to fight with many audacious, wicked, and sometimes even powerful men. That is what we have heard, what tradition tells us, what we have read as to how our most famous men have thought and acted. Nor do we ever see as objects of praise those men who have at any time roused the temper of the commons to sedition, or who have blinded the minds of the inexperienced by bribery, or who have brought odium upon brave and illustrious men that have deserved well of the State. Our people have always considered such men to be untrustworthy, and to be reckless, wicked, and pernicious citizens. But, on the other hand, those who have checked their attacks and efforts, those who by their influence, their loyalty, their steadfastness, their greatness of soul, have resisted the schemes of adventurers, have always been regarded as men of solid worth, as chiefs and leaders, and as those to whom we owe our present eminence and sovereignty.

[67.] L   [140] And that no one may dread to follow this path of life owing to my misfortune or that of any others, one person only in this State, as far as my recollection serves me, that illustrious public servant, Lucius Opimius, did meet with most undeserved disaster; and his monument in the forum is visited by crowds, even if his tomb on the shore at Dyrrachium is left deserted. And even he, although he was violently hated for the death of Gaius Gracchus, was set free from his danger by the Roman People itself. It was a storm from another quarter, and an unjust prosecution, that ruined that distinguished citizen. The others, however, even if overthrown by sudden violence and an outbreak of popular fury, have yet been recalled and reinstated by that same People, or have lived their lives wholly uninjured and unattacked. But, on the other hand, those who disregarded the counsel of the Senate, the authority of loyal citizens, or the institutions of our ancestors, and endeavoured to make themselves agreeable to the ignorant or excited masses, nearly all paid a penalty to the State, either by instant death or ignominious exile. [141] But if among the Athenians, who were Greeks, differing greatly from our people in strength of character, there has never been a lack of defenders of the State against the foolhardiness of the populace, although all those who did so defend it were usually banished from the State; if the great Themistocles, the saviour of his country, was not deterred from defending the State either by the calamity of Miltiades, who a little before had saved it, or by the exile of Aristides, the one man said to have been the most just of all; if, later, distinguished men of the same State, whom it is unnecessary to mention by name, although having before their eyes so many instances of hasty temper and fickleness shown by the people, still stood up for that State of theirs : what, I ask, ought we to do, who in the first place have been born in a State which is the very birthplace, it seems to me, of strong and lofty character; who in the next place are raised to such a height of glory, that all human records must seem trivial in comparison ; who, lastly, have undertaken the defence of that State, whose worth is so great that to die in its defence is more to be desired than by fighting against it to attain supreme power ?

[68.] L   [142] Those men of Greece whom I mentioned before, who have been unjustly condemned and banished by their fellow-citizens, nevertheless, because they deserved well of their cities, are at the present day in such repute not only in Greece but also among ourselves and in all other countries, that no one mentions the names of their oppressors, and all men rank their fall above the supremacy of the others. Who of the Carthaginians was valued more highly for wisdom, for valour, for achievements, than Hannibal, who alone for so many years contended for rule and glory with so many of our generals? He was driven out by his fellow-citizens ; but, although he was our enemy, we find him celebrated in our literature and in our memory. [143] Accordingly let us imitate men like our Bruti, Camilli, Ahalae, Decii, Curii, Fabricii, Maximi, Scipiones, Lentuli, Aemilii, and countless others, who firmly established this State, whom, indeed, I reckon among the company and number of the Immortal Gods. Let us love our country ; let us obey the Senate, let us serve the interests of loyal citizens ; let us disregard present advantages, let us work for glory in years to come ; let us regard that as best which is most truly good ; let us hope for our wishes, but let us bear what comes. Lastly, let us remember, that if the body of a brave and great man is mortal, yet the impulses of the mind and the glory of virtue are eternal; and, when we see this belief consecrated in the person of Hercules, that most venerable of heroes, whose courageous life is said to have passed into immortality after his body had been reduced to ashes, let us none the less believe that those who have enlarged, defended, or preserved this mighty State by their counsels or labours have obtained immortal glory.

[69.] L   [144] But, gentlemen, while speaking of the honour and glory of our bravest and most illustrious citizens, and preparing to say even more, I am suddenly checked in the very course of my speech by the sight of these my friends. I see Publius Sestius, defender of my life, champion of your authority, advocate of the cause of the State, on the bench of the accused ; I see his son still in his childhood turning towards me with his eyes full of tears; I see Titus Milo, restorer of your liberty, protector of my life, mainstay of our afflicted State, who has put an end to brigandage in our midst, and checked daily bloodshed, defender of your temples and homes, guardian of the Senate House, sitting in mourning and under accusation. I see Publius Lentulus, whose father I consider the god and father of my fortune, of my name, of my brother and my children, in these squalid mourning garments ; I see the man who in the past year received his toga of manhood from the hand of his father, and his purple-bordered toga by the will of the People, and now in the present year, in this toga, he begs you to spare his father, one of our bravest and most illustrious citizens, the bitterness of a proposal as unjust as it was unexpected. [145] And this mean apparel worn by so many distinguished citizens, these marks of sorrow, these melancholy rags, have been assumed for my sake alone, because they defended me, because they grieved for my misfortune and sorrow, because they restored me to my mourning country, to the demands of the Senate, to the request of Italy, to your unanimous entreaties. What great wickedness is in me ? what great crime did I commit on that day, when I brought before you information, letters, confessions of those who had planned our general destruction, when I obeyed your orders ? And yet, if it is a crime to love one's country, I have been punished enough for it. My house has been pulled down, my property ravaged, my children separated, my wife dragged through the city, my excellent brother, a man whose love and affection are beyond belief, has rolled prostrate in filthy rags at the feet of my implacable enemies ; while I, driven from hearth and home, torn away from my friends, have been parted from my country, which, to say the very least, I had certainly loved. I have borne the cruelty of enemies, the crime of traitors, the perfidy of those who wish me ill. [146] If this is not enough, because all seems to be wiped out by my return, I would much rather, much rather, I repeat, gentlemen, fall back into the same ill-fortune, than bring so disastrous a calamity upon my defenders and saviours. Can I remain in this city if these who have given me my share in it have been driven out? I will not, I cannot, gentlemen, nor shall this youth, whose tears attest his filial affection, if he loses his father through me, ever see me myself safe amongst you, nor shall he lament whenever he sees me, and say that he sees the man who caused his own ruin and that of his father. Indeed I will cling to these, in every state of life, whatever be their plight; nor shall my lot ever tear me away from those whom you see dressed in mourning on my account; nor shall those peoples, to whom the Senate commended me, whom it thanked for me, ever see this man an exile on my account without me as his companion.

[147] But the Immortal Gods, who received me in their temples on the day of my arrival, with these same men and Publius Lentulus the consul in close attendance, and the State itself, most venerable of all things, have entrusted your authority, gentlemen, with the decision of these matters. By your verdict you can sustain the resolution of all loyal citizens and weaken that of the disloyal; you can enjoy the services of these best citizens, you can renew my courage, and you can give new life to the State. Wherefore I beg and beseech you, if you willed my salvation, to preserve those by whose efforts I have been restored to you.

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