Cicero : Pro Sulla

This speech was delivered for P. Cornelius Sulla, in 62 B.C.

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

[1.] L   [1] I could earnestly have wished, gentlemen, that Publius Sulla might earlier have attained the glory of his office, ** and after his disaster might have received some reward for his modest behaviour. An unkind fortune, however, has ruled that he should be ejected from the highest office, not only by the jealousy inseparable from a political career, but also by the unique hatred inspired by Autronius ** ; and that in these pitiful and humbled remnants of his earlier fortune, he should still have some enemies whose animosity cannot be sated even by his punishment. Although I am deeply grieved by his calamities, still, in the midst of my other troubles I am grateful that an opportunity was given me to prove to upright men my gentleness and mercy (well known to all but lately interrupted) and to force disloyal and dishonest citizens, reduced again to order and beaten, to admit that I have been severe and courageous while the state was in danger, but mild and merciful now that it is saved. [2] And since Lucius Torquatus, my familiar and intimate friend, gentlemen, has thought that by violating our intimacy and friendship in his prosecution he could somewhat lessen the prestige of my defence, I shall, by defeating the prosecution of this man at the same time defend my own conduct in serving his interests. I would not, indeed, use this type of speech at this time, gentlemen, if my interests alone were concerned ; for many occasions have been given and often will be given me to speak my own praises, but, as he sees, whatever he takes from my prestige will by just so much weaken the defences of my client, so I think if I shall prove to you the reasonableness of my action and my consistency in undertaking this service and this defence, I shall also win approval for the case of Publius Sulla.

[3] Now, first, I ask of you this, Lucius Torquatus, why should you distinguish between me and the other notable men and important citizens in connexion with my service in defending this case ? Why is it that the action of a most distinguished and honoured man, like Quintus Hortensius, is not condemned by you but my action is ? For, if Publius Sulla planned to burn this city, to extinguish the government, to destroy the state, ought not these things to bring greater grief and more indignation to me than to Quintus Hortensius ? And further, ought I not to be the more severe judge in deciding who, in these matters, should deserve assistance, who should be opposed, who should be defended, who should be abandoned ? "Yes," he says, "for you conducted the investigation, you laid bare the conspiracy." [2.] L   [4] When he says this he does not observe that he who disclosed it took care that all should see that which formerly had been concealed. So this conspiracy, although I disclosed it, is now as well known to Hortensius as to me. When you see that Hortensius, so distinguished for honour and influence, for virtue and prudence, did not hesitate to defend the innocence of Publius Sulla, I ask why Hortensius should be allowed to act for the defence in this case, while I should be denied ; I ask this, too, if you think that I who am conducting the defence am culpable, what, pray, would you think of these noble men and famous citizens whom you see crowding this court, making the case famous, and defending the innocence of this man by their ardour and their influence ? For a speech is not the only method of defence ; all who attend, who are anxious, who want the defendant acquitted, are defending him so far as then participation and influence go. [5] Should I be unwilling to appear on those benches, on which I see the leading lights and luminaries of the state ** ? It is their example I have followed, in attaining by much hard work and at great risk that position and that lofty pinnacle of dignity and honour. And that you may know, Torquatus, whom you are accusing (if, perchance, it annoys you that I am defending Publius Sulla while I have acted in the defence of no one else in a trial of this kind ** ) think of the others who are supporting him, and then you will understand that my judgement and theirs agree exactly, both about him and about the others. ** [6] Who of us defended Vargunteius ? No one, not even Quintus Hortensius here, though he alone defended him before on the charge of bribery. For he did not think that he was joined by any further tie to that man, who by committing so heinous a crime had broken the bonds of all obligations. Who of us thought that Servius Sulla deserved to be defended, or Publius Sulla, ** or Marcus Laeca, or Gaius Cornelius ? Who of these men defended them ? No one. Why is this ? Because in ordinary cases decent men do not think they should fail their friends even if they are guilty , but in this accusation there is involved not only the charge of unscrupulousness but a taint of crime, if he defends a man whom he suspects of being implicated in treason. [7] Next, in the case of Autronius did not his comrades, his colleagues, his old friends - and he once had a great number of them - did not all those who held high rank in the state, desert him? Nay, most even gave evidence against him. They had made up their minds that this crime was so terrible that it was their duty not to hide it but to disclose it and bring it to the light. [3.] L   What reason for surprise, then, is there if you see that in this case I am offering my support, along with those same men with whom, as you know, I associated myself in denying my assistance in the other cases ? Unless, indeed, you wish me to be thought more harsh, bitter, pitiless, than the others, possessed of unparalleled fierceness and cruelty. [8] If this is the character you would impose upon my whole life, Torquatus, on account of what I have done, you are entirely wrong. Nature wished me to be merciful, my country wished me to be firm ; neither my country nor nature wished me to be cruel. Further, my own inclination and nature herself have taken from me that stern and harsh character which the exigencies of the time and the state forced on me. My country demanded sternness for a short time : my nature all through my life longs for mercy and gentleness. [9] Therefore, there is no reason why you should except me alone from this great company of distinguished men. Duty is the same for all, and all honourable men have but one cause There will be no reason to wonder hereafter if you shall see me on the same side where you have found them. There is no political interest which is exclusively mine , the duty to act was mine rather than theirs, but sorrow, terror, and danger were the common lot of all ; nor could I then have been the guide to safety if the others had refused to be my comrades. Therefore necessarily the function which belonged especially to me when I was consul more than to some others, this, now that I am a private citizen, I share equally with all. And I say this, not for the sake of dividing the odium, but of sharing the praise. A part of my burden I give to no one, a part of my glory to all honourable men. [10] "You have given evidence against Autronius," he says, "you are defending Sulla," It all amounts to this, gentlemen, that if I am inconsistent and unstable, it is fitting to give neither credence to my evidence, nor weight to my defence ; but if I possess regard for the public interests, respect for private obligations, an eager desire to retain the goodwill of honest men, my accuser should say anything rather than that I am defending Sulla but have injured Autronius by my evidence. For I think that now I bring to the defence not only enthusiasm but also some reputation and prestige - this I shall use in moderation, gentlemen, and I would not use it at all, if Torquatus had not forced me to do so

[4.] L   [11] You assert that there were two conspiracies, Torquatus ; one is said to have been formed when Lepidus and Volcacius were consuls ** and your father consul-elect, the second during my consulship. ** You say Sulla took part in both. You know that I was not in the confidence of that brave man and excellent consul, your father ; you know that though I was very intimate with you, still I had no part in that crisis and those discussions : I suppose, because I was not yet in the inner councils of the state, because I had not yet gained office - the goal of my ambition - because my canvass for preferment and toil in the forum had kept me from all thought about that matter. [12] Who, then, did share the councils of you and your father ? All these men whom you see supporting Sulla, and especially Quintus Hortensius. He was greatly moved by the common peril but especially by your father's danger, because of his own rank and dignity and his conspicuous devotion to the state, and also because of his great affection and love for your father. And so the accusation of complicity in that conspiracy has been refuted by a man who had to do with it, who knew it, who shared both your councils and your peril. Though his speech in refutation of this charge was most complete and most elegant, its convincing force was not less conspicuous than its technical perfection. And so I could not be a witness to that conspiracy which is said to have been made against you, reported to you, exposed by you. I not only knew nothing of it but scarcely a word of suspicion about it reached my ears. [13] Those who were in your confidence, who shared your knowledge of these things, against whom it was thought at the time the threat was being directed, who did not assist Autronius, who gave damaging testimony against him, they are defending Sulla, they are assisting him, in his trial they assert that they were scared away from assisting the others, not by an accusation of conspiracy, but because those others were guilty. I shall, however, myself discuss the events of my consulship, and the charge relating to a really important conspiracy. And this division of labour between us was not accidental, gentlemen, nor blindly made , but when we saw that we were being employed to make a defence against those charges which we could also give evidence, each of us thought he should take the part about which he himself had personal knowledge, about which he had formed an opinion. [5.] L   [14] And since you have attentively listened to Hortensius on the charges of the earlier conspiracy, hear this first regarding the conspiracy which occurred in my consulship.

When I was consul, I heard many rumours that concerned very grave dangers threatening the state. I made many inquiries, ascertained many facts. No message about Sulla came to me, no information, no letters, no suspicion. Perhaps great weight should be given to this statement of that man who, as consul, unearthed the conspiracy by his prudence, disclosed it by his truthfulness, punished it with great courage, when he says that he heard nothing against Publius Sulla, suspected nothing. But I now make this deliberate statement, not to defend him, but rather to clear myself, that Torquatus may cease to wonder that I am defending Sulla while I did not assist Autronius. [15] For what was the case of Autronius ? What was the case of Sulla ? The former wanted to break up and disperse the court that was trying the cases of bribery, ** first by arranging an uprising of gladiators and runaway slaves, then, as we have all seen, by stone-throwing and rioting. Sulla sought no assistance if his own modest conduct and dignity were to be of no avail. Autronius, after his conviction, conducted himself not only in his acts and conversation but even in his looks and expression as if he were an opponent of the highest classes, a foe to all decent men, an enemy of his country ; Sulla thought himself so broken and ruined by that disaster, that he thought nothing was left him of his former dignity except what he retained by his quiet submission. [16] And in this conspiracy, what union was closer than that between Autronius and Catiline, between Autronius and Lentulus ? What association for good purposes have any men ever had so intimate, as was his association with these men for the purpose of crime, lawlessness, and recklessness ? What shameful act did Lentulus conceive without Autronius ? What crime did Catiline commit without this same man ? Meanwhile Sulla did not seek to meet these men in the solitude of the lught, he did not even meet them for commonplace talk and association. [17] Autronius was accused by the Allobroges, who gave the most truthful evidence about matters of the highest importance ; he was accused by letters and reports from many sources. Meanwhile no one accused Sulla, no one mentioned his name. Finally, when Catiline was expelled from the city - or allowed to go - Autronius sent to his legions weapons, bugles, trumpets, fasces, ** standards. He was left in the city, but Catiline awaited him outside the walls. Overwhelmed by the punishment of Lentulus, ** he came at last to fear but not to reason. In contrast, Sulla so completely retired that he was all this time at Naples, where it is thought there were no men tainted with this suspicion, in a city itself suited rather for calming men's passions than for rekindling the animosities of men in trouble.

[6.] L   Therefore, because of the great dissimilarity between the men and their cases I have behaved toward each of them in a different way. [18] For Autronius came to me, he came often in tears, begging me to defend him, and saying how we had been school-fellows in boyhood, friends in youth, colleagues in the quaestorship ; he instanced the many services I had done him, and some also that he had done me. By these things I was so moved, gentlemen, and so shaken in my purpose, that I erased from my memory the plots he had formed against me, and I forgot that he had sent Gaius Cornelius to kill me in my own house in the sight of my wife and children. If he had devised these things against me alone, such is the tenderness of my heart and my gentleness, I never should have resisted his tears and prayers. [19] But when I thought of my country, of your perils, of this city, of these shrines and temples, of the little children, of the mothers and maids, when the picture of those fatal, funereal firebrands, the burning of the whole city, the stores of arms, the murders, the blood of the citizens, the ashes of the country began to rise again before my eyes and the recollection of them to fret again my soul, then at last I denied him, and not him alone, enemy and traitor that he was, but his relatives too - the Marcelli, father and son, for one of whom I felt reverence as for a father, for the other, tenderness as for a son. And I did not think that I could, without committing the gravest fault, defend their friend ** charged with that same crime, after I had come to recognise it, which I had punished in others. [20] And yet I could not bear to have Publius Sulla a suppliant, nor to look upon these same Marcelli weeping for the danger he was in, nor endure the prayer of my friend here, Marcus Messalla. ** For the case is not uncongenial to my nature, and the man and his fortunes did not fail to arouse my feelings of pity. His name was never mentioned, there was no trace of complicity, no accusation, no evidence, no suspicion. I have undertaken the case, Torquatus, I have undertaken it and I have done so gladly in order that I, whom good men have, I hope, always thought steadfast, may be called cruel not even by the wicked.

[7.] L   [21] Torquatus says, gentlemen, that he cannot endure my tyranny. What tyranny, pray, are you talking about, Torquatus ? My consulship, I suppose, in which I gave no orders at all, but on the contrary I obeyed the senators and all upright men. In my term of office, I did not, of course, establish a tyranny but I averted a tyranny. ** Or do you mean, not that I was a tyrant while in a position of such great civil power and authority, but that now in private life I have become a tyrant ? Under what head, pray ? "It is because," he says, " those against whom you have testified have been condemned , the man you are defending hopes to go free." Here is my answer to you regarding the evidence I have given ; if I did not tell the truth, neither did you, for you spoke against the same men ; but if I did tell the truth under oath - it is no tyranny when you tell the truth, to prove it. Regarding Sulla's hopes, I have only this to say - that Publius Sulla expects nothing of my resources, nothing of my influence, finally nothing at all of me except the loyalty of a defence. [22] "If you had not accepted the case," he says, "he never would have opposed me but would have gone into exile without standing trial."

If now I should grant you that Quintus Hortensius, with all his great influence, and that other men like him depend, not on their own judgement, but on mine ; if I should concede you this, a thing which is incredible, that if I did not defend Sulla these men would not have done so - which is the tyrant, pray, he whom innocent men dare not resist, ** or he who does not desert men overwhelmed by calamity ? Or were you pleased at this point to be jocular - quite unnecessarily - when you said that there were three foreign tyrants. Tarquin, Numa, and I ? I forbear to ask now why you called me a tyrant ; I do ask this - why you have called me a foreigner. Or if I am, it is not so surprising that I should be a tyrant, since, as you say, even foreigners were tyrants at Rome ; the surprising thing is that a foreigner should have been consul at Rome. [23] "I mean," says he, "that you are from a municipal town. " ** I admit it, and I even add from a town whence now a second time ** salvation has come to this city and state. But I am very anxious to have you tell me why those who come from municipal towns seem to you to be foreigners. No one ever brought that charge against that famous old man, Marcus Cato, though he had very many enemies, nor against Tiberius Coruncanius, nor against Manius Curius, nor against my fellow-townsman, Gaius Marius, though many were jealous of him. Indeed, I am exceedingly glad that I am one against whom you, in your eagerness, could hurl no insult which did not apply to most of our citizens. [8.] L   But still I think I ought to tell you again and again, as the important reasons for our friendship demand : all cannot be patrician, nor, if you want the truth, do they care about it ; and men of your own age do not think themselves inferior to you because they are not patricians . [24] And if we seem foreigners to you, we whose name and honour have become familiar to this city through the good report and the conversation of men, then, of course, your rivals must seem foreigners to you, who now, chosen from all Italy, will contest office ** and honour with you. Take care not to call anyone of them a foreigner, or you will be buried beneath "foreign votes" ! If they bring to the canvass vigour and persistence, believe me, they will shake those proud words out of you, they will wake you often out of your own sleep, nor will they allow you to defeat them for office unless you surpass them in excellence. [25] And if, gentlemen, you and I seemed rightly to the other patrician to be foreigners, Torquatus at least would be silent about this blemish, for he himself is a citizen of a municipal town on his mother's side - a very honourable and noble family - but still only from Asculum. So either let him show that the people of Picenum ** alone are not foreigners, or let him be glad that I do not rate my family above his. Then do not after this call me a foreigner, or you may be more roughly refuted, nor call me a tyrant, or you may become a laughing-stock. Unless perhaps it seems to you tyrannical so to live that you are a slave to no man nor even to any passion, to despise all desires, to covet neither gold, nor silver, nor other possessions, to express yourself freely in the senate, to consult the people's need rather than their pleasure, to yield to no one, to oppose many. If you think that is tyrannical, I admit I am a tyrant. But if my power, if my tyranny, if finally any arrogant or haughty utterance of mine moves you to anger, quote that against me, rather than an odious epithet and an insulting vilification.

[9.] L   [26] If for all the benefits I have conferred on the state I were asking for myself no other reward of the senate and the Roman people except an honoured ease, who would not grant it ? They would have for themselves their offices, commands, provinces, triumphs, and other insignia of notable distinction. But I would, with a calm and tranquil mind, be allowed to enjoy the sight of the city which I have preserved. What if I do not ask for this ? If that former activity of mine, if my sympathy, if my service, if my assistance, if my alert attention, are still at the disposal of my friends, are ready at hand for everybody to use ; if in the forum my friends do not lack my loyal support, nor the state my counsel in the senate-house ; if not only have I no rest from the cares of state but also no excuse arising from my office or my age frees me from toil; if my goodwill, my time, my house, my thoughts, and my attention are at the service of all men ; if no time is left me to record ** and contemplate even these things which I have done for the protection of all, will this still be called tyranny when no one can be found who wishes to succeed to it ? [27] The suspicion of being a tyrant is remote from me ; but if you ask who have tried to seize the tyranny at Rome - not to unroll the scroll of ancient history - you will find them in your own family-tree. For I suppose that my achievements have too greatly exalted me, and have raised in me some strange arrogance. Regarding these achievements so famous and so deathless, gentlemen , I can say this : that I, who rescued this city and the lives of all the citizens from the very greatest dangers, shall have been amply repaid if no danger comes upon me from this great service to all mankind. [28] For I remember what a state it is in which I have wrought these deeds, what a city it is in which I move. The forum is full of these men whom I have shaken from your shoulders, gentlemen, from mine I have not removed them. Unless, indeed, you think they who could try or hope to destroy so great a government were few in number. Their torches I could - and did - strike from their hand, then swords from their grasp, but their criminal and treasonable desires I could neither heal nor crush.

So I am not ignorant in what danger I live, in the midst of so great a crowd of evil men, when I see that I alone have undertaken an everlasting war against all the wicked. [10.] L   [29] But if by chance you envy me this guard which I have, and if it seems tyrannical to you that all upright men of all classes and ranks link their salvation with mine, comfort yourself with the thought that the purposes of all evil men are dangerous and furious against me alone. They detest me not only for this reason - because I foiled their treasonable designs and criminal madness - but even more because they think that they can undertake no similar project while I live. [30] But why should I be surprised if I am slandered by slanderous fellows, when Lucius Torquatus, who had so well laid the foundations of his youth, who had such expectations of reaching the highest office, who was, besides, the son of Lucius Torquatus, a dauntless consul, a stead fast senator, and always a most honourable citizen, when even he is sometimes led to be intemperate in his language ? After he had spoken in a low voice of the crime of Publius Lentulus, of the boldness of all the conspirators - only loud enough for you who approve these sentiments to hear - then he began to speak of punishment - Lentulus's punishment, of the prison, ** in a loud and querulous voice. [31] This was a ridiculous proceeding, in the first place, because he wished you to approve of the things which he said under his breath and he did not wish those who were standing around the court to hear ; but he did not perceive that those whose favour he was seeking could not hear what he spoke aloud unless you who did not approve also heard it. Then, a second mistake for an orator not to see clearly what treatment each case requires. Nothing is so out of place in a speaker who accuses another of treason as to seem to mourn for the punishment and death of traitors. When that tribune of the plebs ** does this, who seems the only one of them left to mourn traitors, no one is surprised ; for it is hard to keep silent when you are really grieved ; but if you do anything of this kind I am greatly surprised - such a young man as you are - especially in a case where you desire to have a hand in punishing traitors. [32] However, I blame you most of all because, for all your great ability and prudence, you do not understand the interests of the state when you imagine that the Roman people do not approve of those acts which in my consulship all decent men did for the common safety.

[11.] L   Do you think that anyone of those who are here , into whose favour you have been trying to ingratiate yourself against their will, has been so abandoned that he wished all these things to perish, or so wretched that he wished to die himself and possessed nothing which he wished be safe ? No one blames a most famous man of your own family and name, ** who put his own son to death that he might firmly establish his discipline over others ; do you blame the state which has destroyed traitors that it might not itself be destroyed by them ? [33] Now behold, Torquatus how I deprecate the authority I exercised in my consulship.

At the top of my voice, so that all men may hear, I say this and always will say it ; give me your attention, all you who are here - your large numbers give me great pleasure - lend me your attention and your ears, and hear what I have to say of the acts which he thinks invidious. When an army of traitorous citizens, herded together for secret crime, had prepared for the country a most cruel and terrible end, and when, for the overthrow and destruction of the state, Catiline had been made commander in the camp and Lentulus commander in these very temples and dwellings, I the consul, by my precaution and my toil, at the risk of my life, without a not, without a levy, without arms, without an army, by the arrest and confession of five men only, freed the city from conflagration, the citizens from murder, Italy from devastation, the state from ruin. I saved the lives of all the citizens, the peace of the world, this city, the home of us all, the citadel of foreign kings and nations, the light of mankind, the home of empire, by the punishment of five mad, abandoned men. [34] Or did you think that I would not say in a court of law, when not on my oath, that which I had said on oath in a great public gathering ? [12.] L   And I will add this too, so that no rascal may suddenly fall in love with you, Torquatus? or have any hopes of you, and that all these same men may hear it, I will say it at the top of my voice ; in all the things which I, in my consulship, undertook and did for the state, that man Lucius Torquatus, as he had been my close companion in the consulship and also in the praetorship, so he was my backer, my assistant, my associate, while he was also the commander, the organiser, the standard-bearer of the youth. And indeed his father, a most patriotic man, a man of the greatest courage, most resourceful, of remarkable integrity, though he was ill, still took part in all these things ; he never left me, he gave me invaluable assistance by his energy, his advice, and his influence, while he was overcoming the weakness of his body by the courage of his spirit. [35] Do you see how I am rescuing you from any sudden popularity with villains and reconciling you to all decent men ? They both love you and cherish you - and always will cherish you - and if by any chance you part company with me they will not on that account allow you to be false to yourself and the state and your own dignity. But now I return to the case, and I call you, gentlemen, to bear witness to me m this : that it was he who made it necessary for me to say so much about myself. For if Torquatus had accused Sulla only, I at this time would have done nothing but defend the man who had been accused. But since he had directed all the venom of his speech against me, and since, as I said at the beginning, he has tried to rob my defence of all authority, even if indignation had not forced me to answer him, still the case itself would have demanded this statement from me.

[13.] L   [36] You say Sulla was named by the Allobroges. ** Who denies it ? But read the evidence and see how he was named. They said that Lucius Cassius affirmed that Autronius and others were acting with them. I ask you : Did Cassius mention Sulla ? Never. They say that they asked Cassius what Sulla's opinions were. See how careful the Gauls were ; because they did not know the reputation of the men nor their character and had only heard that they were involved in the common disaster, they inquired whether or not they were of the same way of thinking. What said Cassius to that? If he had said that Sulla agreed with him and was co-operating with him, still it does not seem to me that that should be regarded as incriminating Sulla. Why so ? Because, since Cassius was instigating these barbarians to war, it was not for him to lessen their suspicion nor to clear those of whom they seemed to suspect something. [37] Still he did not say that Sulla was acting with him. For it would have been ridiculous, after naming others who were acting with him, not to mention Sulla unless he was advised and asked - unless, of course, you think it likely that Cassius did not remember the name of Publius Sulla. If the man's rank, if his ill fortune, if the remnants of his former estate had not been conspicuous, still the mention of Autronius would have reminded him of Sulla. For, as I think, since Cassius was using the prestige of eminent men in the conspiracy in order to win the support of the Allobroges, and since he knew that foreigners are especially influenced by an illustrious name, he would not have mentioned Autronius before Sulla. [38] And there is something else nobody could possibly believe, that the Gauls thought, after Autronius had been mentioned, that they ought to make some inquiry about Sulla because of the similarity of their misfortune, but Cassius, if Sulla were a party to this same crime, could not remember him even when he had named Autronius. But still what did Cassius answer about Sulla ? That he did not know for certain. "He does not acquit him"- says Torquatus. I have already said : even if he did accuse Sulla only when he was directly asked, this would not seem to me a proof of guilt. [39] But in trials and in criminal courts I do not think the question is whether or not a man is acquitted, but whether he is accused. For when Cassius says that he does not know, is he trying to help Sulla or is he proving to us that he really does not know ? "He is acquitting him before the Gauls." What is the meaning of that ? "So that they may not give evidence against him." What then ? If he had thought that there was any danger of their ever giving evidence, would he have confessed about himself ? "He does not know, of course." I suppose Cassius had been kept in ignorance about Sulla alone, for he certainly knew about the others ; for it was clear much of the trouble was hatched at his house. Wanting to give the Gauls more encouragement, he was unwilling to deny that Sulla was among their number ; he did not dare to say what was false, so he said he did not know. And yet it is clear that since he who knew about all the others said that he did not know about Sulla, this denial has as much force as if he had said that he knew Sulla was not in the conspiracy. For his knowledge about all is clear, so his ignorance about any one should be equivalent to an acquittal. But I do not now inquire whether Cassius acquits Sulla ; it suffices for me that there is nothing in the evidence against Sulla.

[14.] L   [40] Baulked in this accusation, Torquatus again turns upon me, he accuses me ; he says that in the public records I made a false entry of what was said. O immortal gods - for to you I shall ascribe that which to you belongs, nor can I credit my own genius alone with guiding me in detecting, through my own efforts, so many dangers, so great, so various, and so unexpected, in the tempest that raged so terribly in the state - you alone then enkindled in my mind the desire to serve the state, you turned me from all other considerations to the saving of the state alone ; in that awful darkness of doubt and uncertainty shed on my mind the clearest light. [41] I foresaw, gentlemen, that unless I attested the truth of this information in the public records while the memory of the senate was still fresh, one day it would happen that, not Torquatus nor anyone like Torquatus - for in that indeed I have been much deceived - but that someone who had made shipwreck of his fortunes, some foe of peace and quiet, some enemy of decent men, would say it was a false record, only to raise more easily a storm against honest people and to find in the troubled waters of the state some harbour for his own troubles. And so when the informers were brought into the senate, I appointed senators to take down all the words of the informers, the questions asked them, and their answers. [42] And what men ! men not only of undoubted probity and honour - men of this character were very numerous in the senate - but those who could, as I knew, most easily keep up with what was being said, because of their memory, their skill, their practice and speed in writing : Gaius Cosconius, who was then praetor, Marcus Messalla, who was then a candidate for the praetorship, Publius Nigidius, Appius Claudius. I suppose there is no one who thinks these men lacked either the honesty or the ability to make a true record.

[15.] L   Very well. What did I do then ? When I knew that the evidence had been entered in the public records, but that those records would be kept after our ancestral custom in the custody of private persons, I did not keep the evidence secret nor confine it in my house, but at once I gave orders that it should be transcribed by all the public clerks, distributed everywhere, given the fullest publicity and made known in detail to the Roman people. I sent it broadcast through all Italy, I sent it to all the provinces ; I wished no one to be ignorant of that testimony by which safety had been brought to all. [43] And so I say that there is no place in all the world where the name of the Roman people is known to which this transcribed evidence has not come. In that crisis so sudden, so brief, so tempestuous, I provided for many things, not by my own sagacity, but by divine inspiration, as I have said, first that no one might be able to remember only what he wished regarding the danger either public or private ; second, that no one might be allowed ever to discredit that evidence or to complain that it was rashly believed ; and finally, that no investigation might depend on me or my private records, lest my forgetfulness or my memory might seem excessive, and lest my carelessness might be thought disgraceful or my efficiency cruel. [44] But still I ask you this, Torquatus : when your enemy was mentioned, and a crowded senate was a witness to this, and the memory of it was still fresh, and my clerks would have disclosed the evidence to you, my familiar and intimate friend, had you wished, before they transferred it to the record - when you saw the record being falsified, why were you silent, why did you allow it, why did you not complain to me or to some friend of mine, or expostulate with more anger and vehemence with me since you so readily attack your friends ? Though your voice was never heard, though you were silent and uttered no word when the information was read, copied, published, do you now all of a sudden invent so grave a charge, and put yourself in such a position, that before you convict me of tampering with the information, you admit on your own testimony that you are guilty of the greatest negligence ?

[16.] L   [45] Was anyone's safety worth so much to me that I should neglect my own ? Would I sully by my falsehood the truth made clear by my own efforts ? Finally, would I assist anyone who had, as I thought, made and directed such cruel attacks upon the state especially in my own consulship ? But if I had at last forgotten my sternness and my steadfastness, was I nevertheless so bereft of reason as to think that the fresh recollection of all the senate could be refuted by my private notes, when written records had been invented as a protection against oblivion for after generations ? [46] I bear with you, Torquatus, and have long borne with you and sometimes I check and curb my inclination to attack your prosecution bitterly ; I make some allowance for your passion, I concede something to your youth, I sacrifice something to friendship ; I owe some regard to your father. But unless you put some measure of restraint on yourself you will impel me to forget our friendship and think of my own dignity. No one has ever brought the slightest suspicion on me whom I did not overturn and overwhelm. But I would wish you to believe this of me : I do not find the greatest pleasure in refuting those persons whom, I think, I can most easily defeat. [47] And since you are least of all ignorant of my method of speaking, do not abuse this strange forbearance of mine. Do not think that the sting of my oratory has been extracted. It has been only sheathed. Do not think that the loss is wholly mine if some indulgence and concession has been made for you. Not only do these excuses for your conduct have weight with me, your hasty temper, your youth, our friendship, but also I am convinced that you are not yet strong enough to make it right for me to wrestle and battle with you.

But if you were older and more experienced, then I should act as I usually do when attacked But as it is I will so deal with you that I shall seem rather to have borne an injustice than to have returned a favour. [17.] L   [48] Nor indeed can I understand why you are angry with me. If it is because I am defending the man you are accusing, why am I not angry with you because you are accusing the man whom I am defending ? You say, "I am accusing a personal enemy." Well, I am defending my friend. "You should not defend anyone accused of conspiracy." Nay, rather, no one should be more ready to defend a man who was never even suspected, than he who has had many a suspicious thought about others. "Why did you give evidence against others ?" Because I was constrained to do so. "Why were they convicted ?" Because the charges were believed. "It is tyrannical to speak against whomever you wish, and to defend whomever you wish." Nay, rather, it is slavish to fail to speak against whomever you wish, and to fail to defend whomever you wish. And if you begin to consider whether it was more necessary for me to act as I did or you as you did, you will understand that you could have limited your enmities more honourably than I could my kindness. [49] But indeed when your family's most distinguished honour was at stake - that is, your father's consulship - that wise man, your father, surely he was not angry with his intimate friends when they defended and praised Sulla ? He knew that it was a custom inherited from our ancestors that no man's friendship should prevent one from pleading a case for the defence. But that dispute was very unlike this trial. Then, if Publius Sulla were disqualified, the consulship would be your father's, as it subsequently was ; it was a contest for an office. You both went about crying, "Stop thief !" and demanding your lost property in order that after being defeated in the Campus Martius you might be victorious in the forum. ** Then those who strove against you in his defence, your best friends, with whom you were not angry, were trying to deprive you of the consulship, they were trying to keep you from an honour that was yours, and still they were doing this without forfeiting your friendship, without breach of obligation, following the old precedent and principle of all honourable men. [18.] L   [50] But as for me, what distinction of yours am I opposing, what honour of yours do I begrudge ? What is it you are expecting to get from this ? The office was given to your father, the insignia of office to you. You, adorned with his spoils, are now coming to mutilate the man you have killed ; I am defending and protecting him as he lies prostrate and stripped of his arms. And here you are blaming me because I defend him, and you are angry. On the other hand, I not only am not angry with you, but I do not even blame you for what you have done. For I am certain that you have determined what course of action you think you should follow and that you have found yourself able to be a quite competent judge of your own duty.

[51] But the son of Gaius Cornelius ** is accusing him, and this should have as much weight as if his father had given testimony against him ! A wise father indeed, who has forgone the reward usually given for information, and by the accusation his son is bringing, has gained all the odium involved in a confession! ** But what, pray, is the accusation which Cornelius makes through this precious son of his ?

If they are old charges, unfamiliar to me but communicated to Hortensius, Hortensius has answered them ; but if, as you say, it is that attempt of Autronius and Catiline, when they wanted to perpetrate a massacre in the Campus Martius at the consular elections which I held, on that occasion we saw Autronius in the Campus Martius, But why did I say "we saw" ? I saw. For at that time you, gentlemen, felt no anxiety nor any suspicion. I, protected by a staunch guard of friends, on that occasion checked the forces and the effort of Catiline and Autronius. [52] And so there is no one, is there, who says that Sulla even came near the Campus Martius at that time ? And yet if he had associated himself with Catiline in a conspiracy of crime, why did he desert him, why was he not with Autronius ?

If the case was the same, why was not the same evidence of guilt discovered ? But since Cornelius himself is even now doubtful about giving information, as you say, and is priming his son for this shadowy evidence, what, pray, does he say of that night when he came on Catiline's invitation to the house of Marcus Laeca in the Street of the Scythe-makers, the night of November 6 in my consulship ? This night was the cruellest and most heartless during the whole conspiracy. Then were determined the day of Catiline's departure, the conditions under which the others remained, the division of the whole city into sections for murder and arson. Then your father, Cornelius - as he will some day at last confess - demanded as his share the very responsible duty of murdering me in my bed when he came to pay his respects to the consul at daybreak and when he had been admitted in accordance with my custom and his rights as a friend.

[19.] L   [53] At this time, when the flame of the conspiracy was at its height, when Catiline was going out to his army, Lentulus was left in the city, Cassius was in charge of the arson and Cethegus of the massacre, when Autronius was ordered to occupy Etruria, when everything was set in order, arranged, prepared, where, Cornelius, was Sulla ? He was not at Rome, was he ? No, far away. He was not in the districts to which Catiline was going, was he ? No, even farther away than that. Nor was he in the districts of Camerinum, Picenum, Gaul - districts which had been especially infected by the contagion, one may say, of that madness ? Nothing is farther from the fact than that. For he was, as I said before, at Naples. He was in that part of Italy which was especially free from that suspicion. [54] What charge, then, or what information, is offered either by Cornelius himself or by you who are bringing these mes sages from him ? These gladiators were purchased for murder and riot on a pretence that they were furnished for Faustus ? "Exactly so. Gladiators were intruded." But we see that they were required by Sulla's father's will. "A company was engaged in haste ; but if he had not taken that one, another could have performed Faustus's games for him." My only wish is that this troop could have satisfied, I will not say the envy of his enemies, but even the desires of reasonable people. "He made great haste, though the time of the games was far off." As if the time for giving the games was not really very near. "And the troop was collected without consulting Faustus , he did not even know of it nor wish it." [55] But there are letters of Faustus in which he earnestly asked Publius Sulla to purchase gladiators - and even this particular troop. These letters were sent not only to Sulla but to Lucius Caesar, Quintus Pompeius, Gaius Memmius, and by their advice the whole affair was conducted. "But, Cornelius, his freedman, took charge of the troop " Now if no suspicion attaches to hiring the troop, it makes no difference who commands it ; but, as a matter of fact, Cornelius offered his services for providing weapons with the permission of Servius, ** he never was in command , during the whole time the affair was in the hands of Bellus, a freedman of Faustus.

[20.] L   [56] "But Sittius was sent by him to further Spain to raise trouble in that province." In the first place, gentlemen, Sittius set out when Lucius Julius and Gaius Figulus were consuls, ** some time before the madness of Catiline and any suspicion of this conspiracy. In the second place, this was not his first journey, but he had been several years before in the same place for the same reason, and he went, not only for a reason, but for a very necessary reason - a very important contract with the king of Mauretania, Moreover, after Sittius had gone, Sulla, who had charge of his property and was managing it, sold many of his finest estates and liquidated his debts ; so that the reason which drove others to crime - the desire to keep their possessions - did not exist for Sittius, because his property had been reduced. [57] How incredible, how absurd it is, that a man who wished to undertake a massacre at Rome, to burn this city, should dismiss his most intimate friend and send him away to the ends of the earth ! Was it that he might more easily accomplish his purpose at Rome if there was an uprising in Spain ? But that very thing was taking place of itself without any connexion. Or is it conceivable that in such a crisis, in the midst of designs so new, so dangerous and so confused, he would think it best to dismiss a man so devoted to him, so dear a friend, bound to him by obligation, custom, and habit ? It is not likely that in troubles and in the midst of an insurrection which he himself was preparing, he would part with a man whom in good fortune and peace he always kept with him.

[58] But Sittius himself - for I must not abandon the cause of an old friend and guest - is the character of the man such, or his family or his training, that it is credible he would have wished to make war on the Roman people ? His father, when the rest, his borderers and neighbours in the district, revolted, remained uncompromisingly loyal and faithful to our state ; would the son think that a deadly war should be undertaken against his country ? His debts we see, gentlemen, were incurred, not in vice, but in the pursuit of business. He was in debt at Rome, but in the provinces and the kingdoms very great sums were owing to him. When he was collecting these he did not allow his agents to become embarrassed in any way by his absence ; he preferred to have all his possessions sold and to be deprived of a very fine patrimony, rather than impose delay on his creditors. [59] I had no fear of that class of men when I was involved in the storm that broke upon the state. That class of men was a cause of horror and fear who embraced their possessions and clung to them with such passion that you would have said they could more easily be robbed and stripped of their limbs. Sittius never thought his estates were his blood relations. So he not only protected himself against the suspicion of so great a crime, but even against all the idle talk of men, not by arms, but at the expense of his patrimony.

[21.] L   [60] Now, as to his charge that Sulla instigated the people of Pompeii to join that conspiracy and that heinous crime, I cannot understand what that charge means. Do you think that the people of Pompeii conspired ? Who ever said this, or was there even the least suspicion of such a thing ? "Sulla separated them," he says, "from the colonists, ** that through the people of Pompeii he might be able to get the town into his power after this dissension and disunion had been brought about." In the first place, the whole quarrel between the people of Pompeii and the colonists was reported to the patrons ** after it had already become chronic and had continued for many years. In the second place, when an investigation was conducted by the patrons, the conclusions of the others differed not at all from Sulla's opinions. Finally, the colonists themselves knew that Sulla was defending them quite as earnestly as the people of Pompeii. [61] And this, gentlemen, you can infer from this large crowd of colonists here present who are most honourable men. In behalf of this patron, the defence and guard of that colony, even if they could not save all his fortune and honour, ** they are earnestly desirous that at least he may be helped and preserved through you in this misfortune under which he lies prostrate. The people of Pompeii are present with equal enthusiasm. They have also been summoned by the prosecutors to stand trial. Though they disagree with the colonists about promenades and votes, ** they have the same idea about the common safety. [62] And I do not think that I should pass over in silence this achievement of Publius Sulla. For though he himself established the colony and though the needs of the state caused the interests of the colonists to disagree with the fortunes of the people of Pompeii, he is so popular with both parties and so acceptable to them that he is thought not to have dispossessed one class but to have established the prosperity of both. [22.] L   "But both the gladiators and all that force were got together because of the proposed bill of Caecilius ** " And on this charge he has bitterly attacked Lucius Caecilius, who is an honourable and distinguished man. Of his virtue and loyalty, gentlemen, I will only say that in this bill, which he proposed, not to terminate, but to mitigate his brother's misfortune, he proved to be a man who wished to assist his brother though he was unwilling to oppose the state ; though he proposed the bill under the influence of love for his brother, he refused to press its passage out of deference to his brother's advice. ** [63] And in that matter Sulla is accused through Caecilius - an action for which each deserved to be praised. First Caecilius : he made a proposal in which he seemed to desire to repeal legal precedents in order that Sulla might be restored. You do right to condemn that. For the stability of the state most of all depends on legal precedents - and I do not think that anyone should be so far influenced by love of a brother that he would neglect the common safety to care for the safety of his own relatives. But he proposed nothing about the legal decision , he only raised the question of that punishment for bribery which had lately been established by recent laws. And so, by this proposal, not a decision of the court, but a defect in the law was being amended. No one is questioning the validity of a legal decision when he objects to a penalty, but he is questioning the law. Conviction depends on the judges - it was retained ; the penalty depends on the law, which was being relaxed. [64] Do not, then, alienate from our case the sympathy of those orders ** which preside over the courts with the greatest prestige and dignity. No one has tried to undermine the decision of a court. No proposal of that kind has been made, Caecilius when his brother was in trouble always thought that the power of the judges should be upheld, the severity of the law mitigated. [23.] L   But why should I discuss this farther ? I should have spoken perhaps, and I should have spoken readily and gladly, if affection and brotherly love had driven Lucius Caecilius even a little farther than the scope of ordinary obligation demands, should have appealed to your feelings, I should call to witness the partiality of each man for his friends, should beg you in the name of your deepest feeling and your common humanity to pardon the mistake Lucius Caecilius. [65] The law lay open for discussion for only a day, it was never offered for enactment, it was killed in the senate. When we had convened the senate on January first in the Capitol, nothing took precedence of this ; and Quintus Metellus, the praetor, said that he was speaking under instructions from Sulla and that Sulla was unwilling to have his proposal about himself brought to a vote. Since that time Lucius Caecilius has done many things for the state ; he said that he would put his veto ** on the agrarian law ** which I utterly condemned and repudiated ; he opposed immoderate doles, he never hampered the authority of the senate, he so conducted himself in the tribunate that neglecting the obligations of his private affairs he thought of nothing except the welfare of the state. [66] And in the matter of this proposed bill, who of us at the time feared that violence might be used by Sulla or Caecilius ? Did not all that terror and fear and expectation of rebellion arise from the wickedness of Autronius ? His utterances, his threats were bandied about. His appearance, his crowds, his followers, his gangs of ruffians, these brought on us terror and disorder. And so Publius Sulla, with this most ill-omened man as his ally and comrade in honour and misfortune, was compelled, not only to forfeit his prosperity, but also to abide in misfortune without any remedy or alleviation.

[24.] L   [67] Now you are continually citing the letter which I sent to Gnaeus Pompeius about my own doings and about high politics, and from it you are trying to deduce an accusation against Publius Sulla. And if I wrote in that letter that an unheard-of madness, conceived two years earlier, had broken out in my consulship, you say that by this I have affirmed that Sulla was in the earlier conspiracy. Of course, I am one who thinks that Gnaeus Piso and Catiline and Vargunteius and Autronius could of themselves have undertaken nothing of a criminal nature, nothing bold, without Publius Sulla ! [68] Even if anyone had before this been in doubt about Sulla, as to whether he had thought of the thing with which you charge him - namely that after your father was killed he might parade on the first of January as consul with his lictors, you removed that suspicion when you said that he had collected hirelings and forces against your father in order that he might make Catiline consul. And if I grant this, then you must admit to me that Sulla when, as you maintain, he was supporting Catiline, had no thought of regaining the consulship by force which he had lost by the decision of the courts. And indeed, gentlemen, the character of Publius Sulla does not admit an accusation of crimes so great and so dastardly.

[69] For now that almost all the charges have been disposed of, I shall follow a procedure different from that usually adopted in other cases, and speak now at the last of the life of the man and his character. For at the beginning my desire was to grapple with the enormity of the accusation, to satisfy men's expectations, to say something in my own behalf - for I had been accused. Now you must return to the point to which even if I were silent the case itself would direct your thoughts and attention.

[25.] L   In all matters, gentlemen, that are of greater weight and importance, what anyone has wished, thought, or done must be judged by the character of the accused, not by the accusations against him. For no one of us can be fashioned in a moment, nor can a man's life be suddenly changed or his nature altered. [70] Picture to yourselves for a moment: (to dispense with other illustrations) these men who were associated with this crime Catiline conspired against the state. Whose ears ever refused to believe the charge that the man had attempted this shameless deed who from boyhood had been led to every form of crime, debauchery, and murder, not only by his self-indulgence and criminality, but also by his habits and desires ? Who wonders that he fell fighting against his country who, as everyone always believed, was born for civil brigandage ? Who that remembers Lentulus's association with spies, his insane passions, his depraved and godless superstition, marvels either at his wicked plans or his rash hopes ? Who that thinks of Gaius Cethegus ** and of his journey to Spain, and of his assault on Quintus Metellus Pius, does not believe our prison was built especially to punish crime like his ? I omit the others or else the task will be endless. [71] I only ask of you that you call to mind silently all those who are known to have joined the conspiracy. You will see that every one of them was condemned by his own life before he was condemned by your suspicion. Autronius himself, whose name is most closely connected with this trial and accusation of Sulla, is he not convicted by his own nature and life ? Ever bold, quarrelsome, lustful in defence of licentiousness, we know that he was wont to use not only most foul language but also his fists and his feet. We know that he turned men out of their possessions, that he murdered his neighbours, that he despoiled the shrine of the allies, trying to break up the courts by violence and armed force, that in prosperity he despised everybody, in adversity he fought against honest men, that he rendered no obedience to the state nor yielded to fortune itself. Even if his case was not determined by the clearest of evidence, still his habits and life would convict him. [26.] L   [72] Come now, and compare with his life the life of Publius Sulla, so well known to you, gentlemen, and to the Roman people. Place it before your eyes.

Is there any deed, any act of his that is, I will not say audacious, but that would seem to anyone even slightly impudent ? I say an act, but did any word ever fall from his lips at which anyone could take offence ? Indeed in that terrible and tempestuous victory of Lucius Sulla ** who was found more mild or merciful than Publius Sulla ? How many lives did he beg from Lucius Sulla ! How many influential and distinguished men of our order and of equestrian rank there are, whose safety was secured because he went surety to Sulla for them ! I might name them - for they are themselves not unwilling, and they are here most gratefully disposed toward him - but since the benefaction is greater than one citizen should be able to confer on another, I ask you to attribute his power to circumstances, his use of it to himself. [73] Why should I call to mind the steadfastness exhibited in the rest of his life, his distinction, his generosity, his simplicity in private life, his magnificence in office ? These have been marred by fortune, but still the foundations laid by nature may be seen. What a house, what daily throng of visitors, what distinguished friends, what devoted companions, what a multitude from every rank ! All this, acquired by long and earnest labour, one hour destroyed. Publius Sulla received, gentlemen, a deep and deadly wound, but still such a wound as is likely to be dealt to a life and nature like his. ** For he was adjudged to have had too great a desire for dignity and office , if no one else had this ambition in standing for the consulship, then he was adjudged more ambitious than the others ; but if this passion for the consulship existed in some of the others, ** then perhaps fortune was more unkind to him than to them. [74] But afterward, who ever saw Publius Sulla except sorrowing, discouraged, despondent, who ever suspected that he was avoiding the sight of men and the light of day because of hatred and not because of modesty ? Though there were many attractions for him in the city and the forum because of the great devotion of his friends to him, which alone remained to him in his misfortunes, he avoided your sight, and though he might legally have remained here, he condemned himself almost to exile. [27.] L   In modesty like this, and in such a life, do you believe, gentlemen, that there was a place for a crime so great ? Look at the man himself, regard his countenance, compare the accusation with his life, review, with the accusation in mind, his life, which lies open to your inspection from his birth to the present time. [75] Not to mention the state, which Sulla always loved ; did he wish those men, such friends of his and so devoted to him, by whom his prosperity was once adorned and his adversity is now sustained, to meet a cruel death that he might live a life of deepest misery and disgrace with Lentulus and Catiline and Cethegus, looking forward to a most shameful death ? No, I say, that kind of suspicion does not suit habits like these, modesty like this, a life like his, a man like him. It a kind of barbarity that then came to light, it was an unbelievable and unique madness ; from the many vices of abandoned men acquired from youth onward the great abomination of this unparalleled villainy blazed up. [76] Do not believe, gentlemen, that that violence and that attempt were the work of men - for there never was a race so barbarous or so savage in which there was found, I do not say many, but even one enemy of his country so cruel ; they were beasts, monstrosities, awful and fierce, clothed in human form. Look at them again and again, gentlemen - for there is nothing on which I can more earnestly insist in this case - look closely at the minds of Catiline, Autronius, Cethegus, Lentulus, and the others, what lusts, what wickedness, what baseness will you find in them, what boldness, what incredible madness, what stains of guilt, what marks of parricide, what heaps of crime ! From this vast, deep-seated cancer in the state, which seemed quite hopeless, there was a violent eruption ; this once finished and cleared, the country can recover at last and be healed. For no one thinks that the government could continue to endure if these poisons were retained longer in the constitution. And so it was that Furies drove those men on, not to accomplish their crime, but to pay the penalty to the state by their punishment. [28.] L   [77] And so, gentlemen, will you now cast Publius Sulla into this gang, taking him from that gathering of honourable men who are living and have lived with him ? From these his many friends, from the dignity of his intimates, will you transfer him to the party of scoundrels, to the home and heritage of parricides ? What, then, will become of the old firm-set defence of modesty ? Where, pray, will our past life avail to aid us ? For what emergency will the reward of good character attained be reserved, if in the final trial and battle with fortune it will desert us, if it will not stand by us, if it will aid us in naught ?

[78] The prosecutor threatens us with an examination of the slaves by torture. Although no danger threatens us from this, still in examinations by torture pain is the guiding motive, each one's qualities of mind and body control it, the inquisitor directs it, passion diverts it, hope vitiates it, fear weakens it, so that in such straits there is no place left for truth. Let the life of Publius Sulla be put to the torture. Let inquiry be made of it whether there is any hidden vice, any crime concealed, any cruelty and shamelessness. There will be no mistake in the case, gentlemen, no obscurity, if you listen to the voice of his whole life, which should be the most honest and most convincing witness. [79] In this cause we fear no witness, nothing, we think, is known, nothing has been seen, nothing has been heard by anyone. But still, if the cause of Publius Sulla does not move you, gentlemen, let your own move you. For it is especially to the interest of you who have lived with the greatest refinement and uprightness, that the cases of honourable men should not be tested by the greed, or the hatred, or the perversity of witnesses, but that in important investigations and sudden accusations each man's life should be his witness. Do not, gentlemen, deprive it of its own weapons, do not strip it and expose it to envy and surrender it to suspicion ; strengthen this common citadel of honest men, cut off the retreat of rascals ; let his life be the most potent witness to condemn or acquit him, for, as you see, it alone can, because of its own nature, be most easily examined, it cannot be changed and altered m a moment

[29.] L   [80] What then, shall this authority of mine - for I must always speak of it, though I will speak with hesitation and moderation - what, shall this authority of mine, I say, have no power whatever to assist Publius Sulla, when I have taken no part in the other cases arising out of the conspiracy but am defending him alone ? Perhaps it is offensive to say this, gentlemen, offensive if we are seeking some reward ; if, when others are silent about us, we too are not silent, it is offensive ; but if we are attacked, if we are accused, if reproach is cast on us, certainly you admit, gentlemen, that we are allowed to retain our freedom of speech if not our dignity. [81] In one indictment ex-consuls are accused, so that now the name of the highest office seems to confer more envy than dignity.

"They came to the assistance of Catiline," he says, "and praised him " At that time no conspiracy was evident, none was known. They were defending a friend, they were helping a suppliant ; in his dire distress they did not bear hard on the baseness of his life. Nay even your father, Torquatus, when he was consul, was Catiline's counsel when he was accused of extortion ; a rascal, but a suppliant, perhaps audacious, but once a friend. When he was helping him, after that first conspiracy ** was reported to him, he indicated that he had heard something but did not believe it. "But he did not assist him in another trial though the rest did." If he had learned something later which he did not know during his consulship, then those must be pardoned who heard nothing later ; but if that early information had weight, should it have had more weight after it was old than when it was fresh ? But if your father, even though he suspected danger to himself, still was induced by his own kindness to honour the defence of a thoroughly wicked man by the use of the curule chair ** and the insignia that belonged to himself and the consulship, is there any reason for blaming the ex-consuls who assisted Catiline ? [82] "But the same men did not assist those who were tried for the conspiracy before Sulla." They determined that they should give no help, no assistance, no aid to men concerned in such crime. And to speak of their steadfastness and devotion to the state when their silent dignity and honour speaks for each one of them, and needs the adornment of a speech by no one, can anyone say that there ever were better, braver, more steadfast ex-consuls than in this emergency and peril by which the state was almost overthrown ? Who did not with all his power, his courage, his steadfastness, think of the common safety ? And I do not speak exclusively of the ex-consuls ; for this praise belongs to all those honourable men who have been praetors, and to all the senate, so that it is clear that within the memory of man there has never been in that order more courage, more love of country, more dignity ; but since the ex-consuls have been mentioned I thought I had only to say as much as would be enough to testify to what all remember - that there was no one in that rank of office who did not lend all his energy, his courage, his influence to saving the state.

[30.] L   [83] What next, then ? And what of me who never praised Catiline, who, when consul, did not come to Catiline's aid when he was indicted, who gave evidence regarding the conspiracy against others : do I seem to you to be so bereft of my senses, so forgetful of my steadfastness, so unmindful of the things I have done that, though I made war on the conspirators when consul, I should now want to save their leader, and induce myself to defend the cause and the life of that same man whose sword I but lately thrust back and whose torch I extinguished ? If - I say it on my oath, gentlemen - the state itself preserved by my labours and at my peril did not by its dignity recall me to a seriousness of purpose and steadfastness, still this is inbred in human nature : you will always hate the man whom you have feared, with whom you have fought for life and fortune, from whose snares you have escaped. But when the most lofty honour I have attained is at stake, and the unique glory of my achievements, when as often as anyone is convicted in connexion with this plot, so often is renewed the memory of the salvation achieved through me, would I be so insane, would I allow men to believe that by accident and a happy chance I accomplished the things which I have done for the safety of all rather than by courage and wisdom ? [84] "What, then ? Is this what you assume," perhaps someone will say, "that because you defend a man, he will be judged innocent ?" Indeed, gentlemen, I not only do not assume any privilege for myself to which anyone would object, but if any privilege is granted to me by the consent of all, this I resign and give back I do not live in such a state, nor in such times have I risked my life in all dangers for my country, nor are those so dead whom I have conquered, nor those so grateful whom I have saved, that I would attempt to assume for myself any more than all those who hate and envy me would allow. [85] It seems to be offensive that he who searched out the conspiracy, who disclosed it, who suppressed it, whom the senate thanked in a unique decree, to whom alone, clad in the garb of peace, ** it decreed a thanksgiving, that he should say in this trial : "I would not be defending him if he had been m the conspiracy." I do not say anything offensive ; I do say this, which in these cases relating to, the conspiracy I may say, not on my authority, but on my honour : "I, who investigated the conspiracy and punished it, surely should not be defending Sulla if I thought that he had been in the conspiracy." When I, gentlemen, was inquiring into everything that concerned the great dangers threatening all, when I was hearing many rumours, when I was not credulous of them all but was providing against them all, I say that which I said in the beginning - no informer brought me word, no one sent me a message, no one voiced a suspicion to me, no one by letter brought me information, that involved Publius Sulla.

[31.] L   [86] Therefore, I call you to witness, O gods and penates of our fathers, who preside over this city and this state, who preserved this government, this liberty, the Roman people, their dwellings and temples, while I was consul, by your power and your aid, that I undertake the defence of Publius Sulla with my judgement uncorrupted and unenslaved, that to my knowledge no crime is being concealed, no wickedness undertaken against the safety of all is being defended or kept secret. While I was consul I learned nothing about him, I suspected nothing, I heard nothing. [87] And so I, that same man who seemed violent against the other leaders, implacable against the rest of the conspirators, have discharged my obligation to the state. I now have a duty to perform to my unchanging habits and character . I am as merciful as you, gentlemen, I am gentle as the mildest. In my sternness toward you I did nothing except under compulsion, I came to the aid of the state when it was tottering, I rescued my country when it was sinking ; moved by pity for the citizens, then was I as stern as was necessary. The safety of all would have been lost in one night if such sternness had not been used But as I was led to punish the criminals by love of my country, so I am led to save the innocent by my own desire.

[88] I see nothing in Publius Sulla here, gentlemen, I worthy of hatred, many things worthy of pity. For not to avert his own ruin does he now flee as a suppliant to you, gentlemen, but to save his family and his name from the brand of foul disgrace. For even if he shall be acquitted by your verdict, what distinctions, what consolations for the rest of his life can he have in which he can take delight and enjoyment ? His house, I suppose, will be decorated, ** the images of his ancestors will be brought out, he Will resume his former decorations and garb ! All these things, gentlemen, have been lost ; all the insignia and adornments of his family, his name, his honour have perished in the disaster of one verdict. ** But that he may not be called the destroyer of his country, traitor, public enemy, that he may not leave the disgrace of such a crime to his family, this is his earnest desire. His fear is that his poor son here may be called the son of a conspirator, a criminal, a traitor ; he fears that he may leave the eternal memory of disgrace to this boy, who is much dearer to him than his life, to whom, as it is, he will not leave an unsullied inheritance of honour. ** [89] This child begs you, gentlemen, that you allow him at some time to congratulate his father, if not with his fortune unimpaired, at least in his affliction. To this poor lad the ways of the law-courts and the forum are better known than those of the exercise-ground and the school. It is no longer a question of the life of Publius Sulla, gentlemen, but of his burial. His life was forfeited by the former trial, we are now pleading that his body may not be cast out. For what is there left to detain him in this life, or what reason is there why this life of his should seem to anyone a real life ? [32.] L   Lately Publius Sulla was a man so important in the state that no one could outrank him in honour or influence or fortune. Now despoiled of every honour, he does not seek to regain what has been taken from him. He begs you, gentlemen, not to take from him what fortune has left him in his troubles, so that he may still be permitted to mourn his calamity with his mother, with his children, with his brother, with his relatives here. [90] You should have been sated long ago, Torquatus, with his miseries and if you and your father had taken nothing else from Sulla except his consulship, still you should have been content with that ; for it was rivalry for office that led you to take the case, not private hatred. But when everything including his office was taken from him, when he was crushed under the most wretched and lamentable misfortune, what further do you desire ? Do you want to take from him the right to enjoy this light of day, filled as it is with tears and grief, in which he reluctantly tarries with the greatest sorrow and mourning ? He would gladly surrender it if the disgrace of this most foul accusation is removed. Or do you wish to exile a personal enemy ? If you were the most cruel of men you would get a greater pleasure from seeing him than hearing about him.

[91] O miserable day of ill omen when Publius Sulla was declared consul by all the centuries, O false hope, O fickle fortune, O blind ambition, O unseasonable congratulation ! How quickly all this was changed from joy and pleasure to grief and tears, so that he who but a little while before had been consul-elect, suddenly had no trace left of his former honour ! For what misfortune was there which this man, deprived of reputation, office, fortune, seemed to lack ? For what new calamity was there any room ? The same ill fortune which began pursues him, it has found new sorrow, it does not allow this unhappy man to be afflicted by one grief, to perish in one disaster

[33.] L   [92] But now I am prevented, gentlemen, by my own emotion from saying more about his grief. It is now your turn to act, gentlemen ; to your kindness and mercy I leave the whole case. You have taken your places as judges in our case after a jury was hastily empanelled - a procedure of rejection was intruded while we were all unsuspecting. ** You were selected by the prosecutors with an expectation of severity - by fortune you have been appointed for us as a protection for innocence. As I was concerned about what the Roman people thought of me because I had been severe toward malefactors, and as I undertook the first defence of an innocent man that was offered me, so may you temper by kindness and mercy the decisions which have been made during these months against bold criminals. [93] Not only ought the case itself to dispose you to such action, but also you owe it to your own courage and honesty to make clear that you are not the men to whom it was most profitable for an accuser to come after foisting on us a rejection of jurors. ** In this matter I urge you, gentlemen, in your mutual devotion, as earnestly as my love of you demands, since we are united in the state, by your kindness and mercy to save us from this false charge of cruelty.


1.(↑)   The office of consul to which he was elected and of which he was deprived on a charge of bribery.

2.(↑)   His colleague in the consulship - also convicted of bribery and disqualified.

3.(↑)   "The lights and luminaries" were the ex-consuls who attended the trial in large numbers and who all supported Sulla. They were seated on benches reserved for distinguished hearers.

4.(↑)   i.e., a trial of one accused of participating in the Catiline conspiracy

5.(↑)   i.e., the others suspected of complicity with Catiline.

6.(↑)   Not to be confused with the Publius Sulla of this trial. He was perhaps his cousin. The exact relationship is unknown.

7.(↑)   In 66. The first conspiracy of Catiline. See introduction to Catiline orations.

8.(↑)   In 63.

9.(↑)   i.e., the court that convicted both Autronius and Sulla of bribery in the consular elections.

10.(↑)   Fasces were bundles of rods bound about an axe - the insignia of a magistrate.

11.(↑)   Strangled in the Tullianum under Cicero's supervision.

12.(↑)   i.e. Autronius.

13.(↑)   Messalla was consul the next year, 61. Since he is not spoken of as consul-elect, this speech was probably delivered before the election which took place in August, 62.

14.(↑)   The tyranny threatened by Catiline's conspiracy.

15.(↑)   i.e., Sulla, innocent, would have retired as an exile because of Torquatus's prosecution.

16.(↑)   Arpinum Cicero's native town had had full citizen rights since 188. It had had partial rights since 302 B.C.

17.(↑)   Marius formerly, and Cicero lately, had both saved Rome. Both were natives of Arpinum.

18.(↑)   Torquatus was probably a candidate for the quaestorship. Many of his opponents, Cicero points out, came from the municipal towns of Italy and would therefore, according to Torquatus's charge against Cicero, be foreigners.

19.(↑)   Asculum was in the district of Picenum and so a municipal town like Cicero's Arpimum.

20.(↑)   Cicero probably refers to the three histories he wrote of his consulship (1) in Greek, (2) in Latin verse, and (3) in Latin prose.

21.(↑)   Referring tp the execution of Lentulus without a trial - the charge on which Cicero was later exiled.

22.(↑)   The reference is probably to Lucius Calpurnius Bestia, who was implicated in Catiline's conspiracy (Sall. Cat, 17, 43).

23.(↑)   T. Manlius Torquatus- consul 340 - who put his own son to death for insubordination.

24.(↑)   ie. in the evidence given by them before the senate against the conspirators.

25.(↑)   The election where Torquatus the elder had been defeated was held in the Campus Martius, the trial of Sulla for bribery in the forum.

26.(↑)   A son of the conspirator Gaius Cornelius.

27.(↑)   If his father, the conspirator C. Cornelius, had turned state's evidence he would have received a reward. The disclosures which his son made in his prosecution of Sulla amounted to an indictment of his own father.

28.(↑)   i.e. the Servius Sulla mentioned in Sect. 6.

29.(↑)   64 B.C.

30.(↑)   Military colonists settled at Pompeii by the dictator Sulla.

31.(↑)   Of whom Publius Sulla was one. The "patrons" were distinguished Romans living at Pompeii. They were honorary members of the local senate and sometimes acted, as here, in the capacity of arbitrators.

32.(↑)   The consulship of which he was deprived by the prosecution of Torquatus.

33.(↑)   There was constant quarrelling between the people of Pompeii and the soldiers of Sulla who had been settled there.

34.(↑)   Lucius Caecilius - Sulla's half-brother - had proposed a law to relieve Sulla and Autronius of part of their punishment.

35.(↑)   Sulla forbade Caecilius to press the vote on the law, seeing doubtless that its passage was impossible.

36.(↑)   Senators, knights, and tribunes of the treasury.

37.(↑)   As tribune of the people,

38.(↑)   Publius Servilius Rufus proposed that all public land should be distributed among the people and that more should be bought for the same purpose. Cicero opposed this measure in three speeches of which one has survived entire and the other two in part.

39.(↑)   Cicero hints that Cethegus went to Spain especially to murder Metellus Pius who was in command against Sertorius. There is no other evidence for this. Cethegus was executed with the other conspirators in the Tullianum, the famous subterranean prison at Rome.

40.(↑)   The dictator.

41.(↑)   i.e. accusations of bribery were so common that such a charge against Sulla was not surprising.

42.(↑)   i.e. his competitors, who had secured the consulship after he was disqualified.

43.(↑)   The conspiracy of 66-65 B.C.

44.(↑)   The official chair of the consul and other high magistrates.

45.(↑)   A thanksgiving (supplicatio) was an honour usually conferred on a successful general. For Cicero the citizen (togatus) it was a unique honour.

46.(↑)   When a man was elected to high office, garlands were hung on his house.

47.(↑)   His earlier condemnation for bribery.

48.(↑)   Because of his former conviction.

49.(↑)   It appears from this passage that in a trial such as this under the lex Plautia de vi the jurors were selected largely at the discretion of the prosecution. It is this advantage given to his adversaries of which Cicero complains in rather ambiguous terms. The exact method in which the jurors were selected is not known.

50.(↑)   See preceding note.

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