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Cicero, De Oratore

-   Book 2 , 146-230


Translated by J.S.Watson (1860), with some minor alterations. Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.


Previous sections (74-145)   

{34.} [146] L   "This is indeed the end," continued Antonius, "of that part on which I just now entered; for it is now understood that all matters which admit of doubt are to be decided, not with reference to individuals, who are innumerable, or to occasions, which are infinitely various, but to general considerations, and the nature of things; that general considerations are not only limited in number, but very few; that those who are studious of speaking should embrace in their minds the subjects specific to the several departments of eloquence, arranged under general heads, as well as arrayed and adorned, I mean with thoughts and illustrations. These will, by their own force, beget words, which always seem to me to be elegant enough, if they are such that the subject seems to have suggested them. And if you ask the truth, (as far, that is, as it is apparent to me, for I can affirm nothing more than my own notions and opinions,) we ought to carry this preparatory stock of general questions and common-places into the forum with us; and not, when any case is brought before us, begin then to seek for topics from which we may draw our arguments; topics which, indeed, by all who have made them the subject of but moderate consideration, may be thoroughly prepared by means of study and practice; but the thoughts must still revert to those general heads and common-places to which I have so often alluded, and from which all arguments are drawn for every type of oratory. [147] All that is required, whether it result from art, or observation, or practice, is but to know those parts of the field in which you may hunt for, and trace out, what you wish to find; for when you have embraced in your thoughts the whole of any topic, if you are but well practised in the treatment of subjects, nothing will escape you, and every circumstance material to the question will occur and suggest itself to you.    

{35.} "Since, then, in speaking, three things are requisite for finding argument; genius, method, (which, if we please, we may call art,) and diligence, I cannot but assign the chief place to genius; yet diligence can raise even genius itself out of dullness; diligence, I say, which, as it avails in all things, is also of the utmost moment in pleading cases. [148] Diligence is to be particularly cultivated by us; it is to be constantly exerted; it is capable of achieving almost everything. That a case is thoroughly understood, as I said at first, is owing to diligence; that we listen to our adversary attentively, and possess ourselves, not only of his thoughts, but even of his every word; that we observe all the motions of his countenance, which generally indicate the workings of the mind, is owing to diligence; [149] [but to do this covertly, that he may not seem to derive any advantage to himself, is the part of prudence ;] ** that the mind ponders on those topics which I shall soon mention, that it insinuates itself thoroughly into the case, that it fixes itself on it with care and attention, is owing to diligence; that it applies the memory like a torch to all these matters, as well as the tone of voice and power of delivery, is owing to diligence. [150] Between genius and diligence there is very little room left for art; art only shows you where to look, and where that lies which you want to find; all the rest depends on care, attention, consideration, vigilance, assiduity, industry; all which I include in that one word which I hare so often repeated, diligence; a single virtue, in which all other virtues are comprehended. [151] For we see how the philosophers abound in copiousness of language, who, as I think, (but you, Catulus, know these matters better,) lay down no precepts of eloquence, and yet do not, on that account, any less undertake to speak with fullness and fluency on whatever subject is proposed to them."    

{36.} [152] L   Catulus then observed, "It is as you say, Antonius, that most philosophers deliver no precepts of eloquence, and yet are prepared with something to say on any subject. But Aristotle, whom I admire more than any of them, has set forth certain topics from which every line of argument may be deduced, not only for the disputations of philosophy, but even for the reasoning which we use in pleading cases; from whose notions your discourse, Antonius, has for some time past not varied; whether you, from a resemblance to that divine genius, hit upon his track, or whether you have read and made yourself master of his writings; a supposition indeed which seems to be more probable than the other, for I see that you have paid more attention to the Greek writers than we had imagined." [153] "You shall hear from myself," said he, "Catulus, what is really the case: I always thought that an orator would be more agreeable to the Roman people, and better approved, who should give, above all, as little indication as possible of artifice, and none at all of having studied Greek literature. At the same time, when the Greeks undertook, professed, and executed such great things, when they offered to teach mankind how to comprehend the most obscure subjects, to live virtuously and to speak eloquently, I thought it the part of an irrational animal rather than a man, not to pay them some degree of attention, and, if we cannot venture to hear them openly, for fear of diminishing our authority with our own fellow-citizens, to catch their words at least by listening privately, and from a distance overhearing what they stated; and thus I have acted, Catulus, and have gained a general notion of the arguments and subjects of all their writers."    

{37.} [154] L   "Really and truly," said Catulus, "you have steered your ship to the coasts of philosophy with the utmost caution, as if you had been approaching some rock of unlawful desire, ** though this country has never despised philosophy. For Italy was formerly full of Pythagoreans, at the time when part of this country was called Magna Graecia: ** (whence some report that Numa Pompilius, one of our kings, was a Pythagorean; though he lived many years before the time of Pythagoras; for which reason he is to be accounted the greater man, as he had the wisdom and knowledge to regulate our state, almost two centuries before the Greeks knew that it had arisen in the world;) and certainly this country never produced men more renowned for glorious actions, or of greater gravity and authority, or possessed of more accomplished learning than Publius Africanus, Gaius Laelius, and Lucius Furius, who always had about them publicly the most learned men from Greece. [155] I have often heard them say, that the Athenians did what was very pleasing to them, and to many of the leading men in the city, in sending, when they despatched ambassadors to the senate about important concerns of their own, the three most illustrious philosophers of that age, Carneades, Critolaus, and Diogenes; who, during their stay at Rome, were frequently heard lecturing by them and others. And when you had such authorities as these, Antonius, I wonder why you should, like Zethus in Pacuvius's play, ** almost declare war against philosophy." [156] "I have not by any means done so," replied Antonius, "for I have determined rather to philosophise, like Ennius's Neoptolemus, a little, since to be absolutely a philosopher is not agreeable to me. But my opinion, which I think I have clearly laid down, is this: I do not disapprove of such studies, if they be but moderately pursued; but I think that the reputation of that kind of learning, and all suspicion of artifice, can harm the orator in the opinion of  those who are empowered to decide affairs; for it diminishes the authority of the speaker and the credit of his speech."    

{38.} [157] L   "But that our conversation may return to the point from which it digressed, do you observe that of those three illustrious philosophers, who, as you said, came to Rome, one was Diogenes, who professed to teach the art of reasoning well, and distinguishing truth from falsehood, which he called by the Greek name dialectic, or logic. In this art, if it be an art, there are no directions how truth may be discovered, but only how it may be judged. [158] For everything of which we speak we either affirm to be or not to be; ** and if it be expressed absolutely, the logicians take it in hand to judge whether it be true or false; or, if it be expressed conditionally, and qualifications are added, they determine whether such qualifications are rightly added, and whether the conclusion of each syllogism is true; and at last they torment themselves with their own subtleties, and, after much examination, find out not only what they themselves cannot resolve, but even arguments, by which what they had before begun to resolve, or rather had almost made clear, is again involved in obscurity. [159] Here, then, that Stoic ** can be of no assistance to me, because he does not teach me how to find out what to say; he is rather even an impediment to me; for he finds many difficulties which he says can by no means be cleared, and unites with them a kind of language that is not clear, easy, and fluent; but poor, dry, succinct, and concise; and if any one shall approve such a style, he will approve it with the acknowledgment that it is not suited to the orator. For our mode of speaking is to be adapted to the ear of the multitude, to fascinate and excite their minds, and to prove matters that are not weighed in the scales of the goldsmith, but in the balance, as it were, of popular opinion; [160] we may therefore entirely dismiss an art which is too silent about the invention of arguments, and too full of words in pronouncing judgment on them. That Critolaus, whom you mention as having come here with Diogenes, might, I fancy, have been of more assistance to our studies, for he belonged to the school of that Aristotle from whose method I seem to you not greatly to differ. Between this Aristotle, (of whom I have read, as well that book in which he explains the rhetorical systems of all who went before him, as those in which he gives us some notions of his own on the art,) between him, I say, and the professed teachers of the art, there appeared to me to be this difference: that he with the same acuteness of intellect with which he had penetrated the qualities and nature of things throughout the universe, saw into everything that pertained to the art of rhetoric, which he thought beneath him; but they, who thought this art alone worthy of cultivation, passed their whole lives in contemplating this one subject, not with as much ability as he, but with constant practice in their single pursuit, and greater devotion to it. [161] As to Carneades, that extraordinary force and variety of eloquence which he possessed would be extremely desirable for us; a man who never took up any argument in his disputations which he did not prove; never attacked any argument that he did not overthrow. But this is too arduous an accomplishment to be expected from those who profess and teach rhetoric.    

{39.} [162] L   "If it were my desire that a person totally uneducated should be instructed in the art of speaking, I would willingly send him to these perpetual workers at the same employment, who hammer day and night on the same anvil, and who would put his literary food into his mouth, in the smallest pieces, minced as fine as possible, as nurses put theirs into the mouths of children. But if he were one who had had a liberal education, and some degree of practice, and seemed to have some acuteness of genius, I would instantly conduct him, not where a little brook of water was confined by itself, but to the source whence a whole flood gushed forth; to an instructor who would show him the seats and abodes, as it were, of every sort of arguments, and would illustrate them briefly, and define them in proper terms. [163] For what point is there in which he can hesitate, who shall see that whatever is assumed in speaking, either to prove or to refute, is either derived from the peculiar force and nature of the subject itself, or borrowed from something foreign to it? From its own peculiar force: as when it is inquired, 'what the nature of a whole thing is,' or 'a part of it' or 'what name it has,' or whatever belongs to the whole matter. From what is foreign to it: as when circumstances which are extraneous, and not inherent in the nature of the thing, are enumerated in combination. [164] If the inquiry regard the whole, its whole force is to be explained by a definition, thus: 'If the majesty of a state be its greatness and dignity, he is a traitor to its majesty who delivers up an army to the enemies of the Roman people, not he who delivers up him who has violated it into the power of the Roman people.' [165] But if the question respect only a part, the matter must be managed by partition in this manner: 'Either the senate should have been obeyed concerning the safety of the republic, or some other authority should have been constituted, or he should have acted on his own judgment: to constitute another authority would have been haughty; to act on his own judgment would have been arrogant; therefore he had to obey the direction of the senate.' If we argue from a name, we may express ourselves like Carbo: 'If he be a consul who consults the good of his country, what else has Opimius done?' [166] But if we argue from what is intimately connected with the subject, there are many sources of arguments and common-places; for we shall look to connected terms, to general views, to particulars falling under general views, to things similar and dissimilar, contrary, consequential; to such as agree with the case, and are, as it were, forerunners of it, and such as are at variance with it; we shall investigate the causes of circumstances, and whatever has arisen from those causes; and shall notice causes that are stronger, or similar, or weaker. 

{40.} [167] L   "From things closely relating to the subject arguments are drawn thus: 'If the utmost praise is to be attributed to filial duty, you ought to be moved when you see Quintus Metellus mourn so tenderly.' From general considerations, thus: 'If magistrates ought to be under the power of the Roman people, of what do you accuse Norbanus, whose tribuneship was subservient to the will of the state?' [168] From particulars that fall under the general consideration, thus: 'If all who consult the interest of the public ought to be dear to us, certainly military commanders should be peculiarly dear, by whose conduct, courage, and exposure to danger, we preserve our own safety and the dignity of the empire.' From similarity, thus: 'If wild beasts love their offspring, what affection ought we to feel for our children?' [169] From dissimilarity, thus: 'If it be the character of barbarians to live as it were for a short season, our plans ought to have respect to perpetuity.' In both modes of comparison, from similarity as well as dissimilarity, examples are taken from the acts, sayings, and successes of others; and fictitious narratives may often be introduced. From contraries, arguments are drawn thus: 'If Gracchus acted in a detestable manner, Opimius has acted in a glorious manner.' [170] From subsequent circumstances, thus: 'If he be slain with a weapon, and you, his enemy, are found on the very spot with a bloody sword, and nobody but you is seen there, and no one else had any reason to commit the act, and you were always of a daring character, what ground is there on which we can possibly doubt of your guilt?' From concurrent, antecedent, and repugnant circumstances, thus, as Crassus argued when he was quite a young man: 'Although, Carbo, you defended Opimius, this audience will not on that account esteem you a good citizen; for it is clear that you dissembled and had other views, because you often, in your harangues, deplored the fate of Tiberius Gracchus, because you were an accomplice in the death of Publius Africanus, because you proposed a law of such a nature in your tribuneship, because you have always opposed the good members of the state.' [171] From the causes of things, thus: 'If you would abolish avarice, you must abolish the parent of it, luxury.' From whatever arises from those causes, thus: 'If we use the money in the treasury as well for the services of war as the ornaments of peace, let us take care of the public revenues.' Stronger, weaker, and parallel instances, we shall compare thus: from a stronger we shall argue in this way, 'If a good name be preferable to riches, and money is pursued with so much industry, with how much more exertion is glory to be sought?' From a weaker, thus:

          Since merely for a small acquaintance's sake
          He takes this woman's death so nearly, what
          If he himself had loved? what would he feel
          For me, his father? **    

"From a parallel case, thus: 'It is natural of one and the same character, to seize the public money, and to give it away it to the public detriment.' [173] But instances borrowed from extraneous circumstances are such as are not supported by their own strength, but somewhat foreign: as, 'This is true; for Quintus Lutatius has affirmed it,'   'This is false; for an examination has been made,'    'This must of necessity follow; for I shall read the writings;' on which head I spoke fully a little while ago. {41.} [174] L   I have been as brief in the exemplification of these matters as their nature would permit. For as, if I wished to make known to any one a quantity of gold, that was buried in separate heaps, it ought to be sufficient if I told him the signs and marks of the places, with the knowledge of which he might dig for himself, and find what he wished with very little trouble, and without any mistake; so I wished to specify such marks, as it were, of arguments, as would let him who seeks them know where they are; ** what remains can be brought out by diligence and thought. [175] What kind of arguments is most suitable to any particular kind of case it requires no exquisite skill to prescribe, but merely moderate capacity to determine. For it is not now my intention to set forth any system of rhetoric, but to communicate to men of eminent learning some hints drawn from my own experience. These common-places, therefore, being fixed in the mind and memory, and called forth on every subject proposed to be discussed, there will be nothing that can escape the orator, not merely in matters discussed in the forum, but in any department of eloquence whatever. [176] But if he shall attain such success, as to seem to be what he would wish to seem, and to affect the minds of those before whom he pleads in such a manner as to lead or rather force them in whatever direction he pleases, he will assuredly need nothing else to render him accomplished in oratory.    

"We now see, that it is by no means sufficient to find out what to say, unless we can handle it skilfully when we have found it. [177] This treatment ought to be varied, so that he who listens may neither discover any artifice, nor be tired and satiated with uniformity. Whatever you suggest, should be laid down as a proposition, and you should show why it is so; and, from the same premises, you should sometimes form a conclusion, and sometimes leave it to be formed by the hearer, and make a transition to something else. Frequently, however, you need make no proposition, but show, by the reasoning which you shall use, what proposition might have been made. If you produce a comparison to anything, you should first confirm what you offer as a comparison; and then apply to it the point in question. In general, you should shade the distinctive points of your arguments, so that none of your hearers may count them; and that, while they appear clear as to matter, they may seem blended in your mode of speaking on them.    

{42.} [178] L   "I run over these matters cursorily, as addressing men of learning, and, being myself but half-learned, so that we may at length arrive at matters of greater consequence. For there is nothing, Catulus, of more importance in speaking than that the hearer should be favourable to the speaker, and be himself so strongly moved that he may be influenced more by impulse and excitement of mind, than by judgment or reflection. For mankind make far more decisions through hatred, or love, or desire, or anger, or grief, or joy, or hope, or fear, or error, or some other affection of mind, than from regard to truth, or any settled maxim, or principle of right, or judicial form, or adherence to the laws. Unless anything else, [179] therefore, be agreeable to you, let us proceed to consider these points."    

"There seems," observed Catulus, "to be still a little lacking in those matters which you have discussed, Antonius, something that requires to be explained before you proceed to what you propose."   "What is it?" asked Antonius. "What order," replied Catulus, "and arrangement of arguments, has your approval; for in that department you always seem a god to me." [180] "You may see how much of a god I am in that respect, Catulus," replied Antonius; "for I assure you the matter would never have come into my thoughts if I had not been reminded of it; so that you may suppose I am generally led by mere practice in speaking, or rather perhaps by chance, to fix on that arrangement of matter by which I seem at times to produce some effect However, that very point which I, because I had no thought of it, passed by as I should pass by a person unknown to me, is of such efficacy in oratory, that nothing is more conducive to victory; but yet you seem to me to have been premature in requiring an account of the order and disposition of the orator's material; [181] for if I had placed all his power in argumentation, and in proving his case from its own inherent merits, it might be time to say something on the order and arrangement of his arguments; but as three heads were specified by me, and I have spoken on only one, it will be proper, after I have attended to the other two, to consider, last of all, about the general arrangement of a speech.    

{43.} [182] L   "It contributes much to success in speaking, that the morals, principles, conduct, and lives of those who plead cases, and of those for whom they plead, should be such as to merit esteem; and that those of their adversaries should be such as to deserve censure; and also that the minds of those before whom the case is pleaded should be moved as much as possible to a favourable feeling, as well towards the speaker as towards him for whom he speaks. The feelings of the hearers are conciliated by a person's dignity, by his actions, by the character of his life; particulars which can more easily be adorned by eloquence, if they really exist, than be invented, if they have no existence. But the qualities that attract favour to the orator are a soft tone of voice, a countenance expressive of modesty, a mild manner of speaking; so that if he attacks any one with severity, he may seem to do so unwillingly and from compulsion. It is of peculiar advantage that indications of good nature, of liberality, of gentleness, of piety, of grateful feelings, free from selfishness and avarice, should appear in him; and everything that characterizes men of probity and humility, not acrimonious, nor stubborn, nor litigious, nor harsh, very much conciliates benevolence, and alienates the affections from those in whom such qualities are not apparent. The contrary qualities to these, therefore, are to be imputed to your opponents. [183] This mode of address is extremely excellent in those cases in which the mind of the judge is not likely to be inflamed by an ardent and vehement assault; for energetic oratory is not always desirable, but often smooth, submissive, gentle language, which gains much favour for defendants {rei}, a term by which I designate not only such as are accused, but all persons about whose affairs there is any litigation; for people formerly used the word in that sense. [184] To describe the character of your clients in your speeches, therefore, as just, full of integrity, religious, unpresuming, and long-suffering, has an extraordinary effect; and such a description, either in the commencement, or in your statement of facts, or in the peroration, has so much influence, if it is agreeably and judiciously managed, that it often prevails more than the merits of the case. Such influence, indeed, is produced by a certain feeling and art in speaking, that the speech seems to represent, as it were, the character of the speaker; for, by adopting a peculiar mode of thought and expression, united with action that is gentle and indicative of amiableness, such an effect is produced, that the speaker seems to be a man of probity, integrity, and virtue.    

{44.} [185] L   "To this mode of speaking we may add the opposite method, which moves the minds of the judges by very different means, and impels them to hate, or love, or envy, or benevolence, or fear, or hope, or desire, or abhorrence, or joy, or grief, or pity, or severity; or leads them to whatever feelings resemble and are allied to these and similar emotions of mind. [186] It is desirable, too, for the orator, that the judges may voluntarily bring to the hearing of the case some feelings in their breasts favourable to the object of the speaker. For it is easier, as they say, to increase the speed of someone who is already running, than to excite to motion someone who is static. But if such shall not be the case, or be somewhat doubtful, then, as a careful physician, before he proceeds to administer any medicine to a patient, must not only understand the disease of him whom he would cure, but also his habit and constitution of body when in health; so I, for my part, when I undertake a case of such doubt and importance as is likely to excite the feelings of the judges, employ all my abilities on the care and consideration of ascertaining, as skilfully as I can, what their sentiments and opinions are, what they expect, to which side they incline, and to what conclusion they are likely to be led, with the least difficulty, by the force of oratory. [187] If they yield themselves up, and, as I said before, voluntarily incline and tilt to the side to which I would impel them, I embrace what is offered, and turn my sails to that quarter from where any breath of wind is perceived to blow. But if the judge is unbiased, and free from all passion, it is a work of greater difficulty; for every feeling must then be moved by the power of oratory, without any assistance from nature. But so great are the powers of eloquence, which was rightly termed by a good poet, **

          Incliner of the soul, and queen of all things,

that it cannot only make him upright who is biased, or bias him who is steadfast, but can, like an able and resolute commander, lead even him captive who resists and opposes.   

{45.} [188] L   "These are the points about which Crassus just now jokingly questioned me when he said that I treated them divinely, and praised what I did, as being excellently done, in the cases of Manius Aquilius, ** Gaius Norbanus, ** and some others; but really, Crassus, when such arts are adopted by you in pleading, I use to feel terrified; such power of mind, such impetuosity, such passion, is expressed in your eyes, your countenance, your gesture, and even in your very finger; ** such a torrent is there of the most emphatic and best chosen words, such noble thoughts, so just, so new, so free from all disguise or puerile embellishment, that you seem not only to me to fire the judge, but to be yourself on fire. [189] Nor is it possible that the judge should feel concern, or hate, or envy, or fear in any degree, or that he should be moved to compassion and tears, unless all those sensations which the orator would awaken in the judge shall appear to be deeply felt and experienced by the orator himself. For if a counterfeit passion were to be assumed, and if there were nothing, in a speech of that kind, but what was false and simulated, still greater art would perhaps be necessary. What is the case with you, however, Crassus, or with others, I do not know; as to myself, there is no reason why I should say what is false to men of your great good sense and friendship for me, I never yet, upon my honour, tried to excite sorrow, or compassion, or envy, or hatred, when speaking before a court of law, but I myself, in rousing the judges, was affected with the very same sensations that I wished to produce in them. [190] For it is not easy to cause the judge to be angry with him with whom you desire him to be angry, if you yourself appear to take the matter coolly; or to make him hate him whom you wish him to hate, unless he first see you burning with hatred; nor will he be moved to pity, unless you give him plain indications of your own acute feelings, by your expressions, sentiments, tone of voice, look, and finally by sympathetic tears; for as no fuel is so combustible as to kindle without the application of fire, so no disposition of mind is so susceptible of the impressions of the orator as to be animated to strong feeling, unless he himself approach it full of inflammation and ardour.    

{46.} [191] L   "And that it may not appear to you extraordinary and astonishing, that a man should so often be angry, so often grieve, and be so often excited by every passion of the mind, especially in other men's concerns, there is such force, let me assure you, in those thoughts and sentiments which you apply, handle, and discuss in speaking, that there is no occasion for simulation or deceit; for the very nature of the language which is adopted to move the passions of others, moves the orator himself in a greater degree than any one of those who listen to him. [192] That we may not be surprised, too, that this happens in legal cases, in criminal trials, in the danger of our friends, and before a multitude in the city and in the forum, where not only our reputation for ability is at stake, (for that might be a slight consideration; although, when you have professed to accomplish what few can do, it is not wholly to be neglected;) but where other things of greater importance are concerned, fidelity, duty to our clients, and earnestness in discharging that duty; we are so much moved by such considerations, that even while we defend the merest strangers, we cannot regard them as strangers, if we wish to be thought honest men ourselves. [193] But, as I said, that this may not appear surprising in us, what can be more fictitious than poetry, than theatrical representations, than the argument of a play? Yet on the stage I myself have often observed the eyes of the actor through his mask appear inflamed with fury, while he was repeating these verses, **  
          Have you, then, dared to separate him from you,  
          Or enter Salamis without your brother?  
          And dreaded not your father's countenance?  

He never uttered the word 'countenance' but Telamon seemed to me to be distracted with rage and grief for his son. And how, lowering his voice to a tone of sorrow, did he appear to weep and bewail, as he exclaimed,

          Whom childless now in the decline of life
          You have afflicted, and bereaved, and killed;
          Regardless of your brother's death, regardless
          Of his young son entrusted to your keeping!    

And if even the player who pronounced these verses every day, could not yet pronounce them efficiently without a feeling of real grief, can you suppose that Pacuvius, when he wrote them, was in a cool and tranquil state of mind? Such could not be the case; [194] for I have often heard that no man can be a good poet (as they say is left recorded in the writings of both Democritus and Plato) without ardour of imagination, and the excitement of something similar to frenzy.    

{47.} "Do not therefore imagine that I, who had no desire to imitate or represent the calamities or fictitious sorrows of the heroes of antiquity in my speech, and was no actor of a foreign and personated part, but a supporter of my own, when Manius Aquilius, by my efforts, was to be maintained in his rights as a citizen, did that which I did in the peroration of that case, without a strong feeling. [195] For when I saw him whom I remembered to have been consul, and, as a general honoured by the senate, to have marched up to the Capitol with the pomp of an ovation, afflicted, dejected, sorrowful, reduced to the last extremity of danger, I no sooner attempted to excite compassion in others, than I was myself moved with compassion. I observed, indeed, that the judges were wonderfully moved, when I brought forward the sorrowful old man in mourning clothes, and did what you, Crassus, commend, not with art (of which I know not what to say), but with great concern and emotion of mind, so that I tore open his garment and showed his scars; [196] when Gaius Marius, who was present and sat by, heightened the sorrow expressed in my speech by his tears; and when I, frequently calling upon him, recommended his colleague to his protection, and invoked him as an advocate to defend the common fortune of commanders. This excitement of compassion, this invocation of all gods and men, of citizens and allies, was accompanied by tears and extreme pity on my part; and if, from all the expressions which I then used, real concern of my own had been absent, my speech would not only have failed to excite commiseration, but would have even deserved ridicule. I, therefore, instruct you in these particulars, Sulpicius, I that am, of course, so skilful and so learned a master, showing you how, in speaking, you may be angry, and sorrowful, and weep.    

[197] L   "Though why, indeed, should I teach you this, who, in accusing my quaestor and companion in office, ** raised so fierce a flame, not only by your speech, but much more by your vehemence, passion, and fiery spirit, that I could scarce venture to approach to extinguish it? For you had in that case everything in your favour; you brought before the judges violence, flight, pelting with stones, the cruel exercise of the tribunician power in the grievous and miserable calamity of Caepio; it also appeared that Marcus Aemilius, the first man {princeps}, not only in the senate, but in the city, had been struck with one of the stones; and nobody could deny that Lucius Cotta and Titus Didius, when they would have interposed their veto upon the passing of the law, had been driven in a violent  manner from the temple.    

{48.} [198] L   "There was also this circumstance in your favour - that you, being merely a youth, were thought to make these complaints on behalf of the commonwealth with the utmost propriety; I, a man of censorian rank, was thought hardly in a condition to appear with any honour in defence of a seditious citizen, a man who had been unrelenting to the distress of a consular person. The judges were citizens of the highest character; the forum was crowded with respectable people, so that scarcely even a slight excuse was allowed me, although I was to speak in defence of one who had been my quaestor. In these circumstances why need I say that I had recourse to some degree of art? I will state how I acted, and, if you please, you may place my defence under some head of art. [199] I noticed, in connection, the natures, ill effects, and dangers of every kind of sedition. I brought down my discourse on that subject through all the changes of circumstances in our commonwealth; and I concluded by observing, that though seditions had always been accompanied by troubles, yet that some had been supported by justice, and almost by necessity. I then dwelt on those topics which Crassus just now mentioned, that neither could kings have been expelled from this city, nor tribunes of the people have been created, nor the consular power have been so often diminished by votes of the populace, nor the right of appeal, that patroness of the state and guardian of our liberty, have been granted to the Roman people, without disputes against the nobility; and if those seditions had been of advantage to the republic, it should not immediately, if any commotion had been raised among the people, be held against Gaius Norbanus as a heinous crime or serious misdemeanour; but that, if it had ever been allowed to the people of Rome to appear justly provoked (and I showed that it had been often allowed), no occasion was ever more just than that of which I was speaking. I then gave another turn to my speech, and directed it to the condemnation of Caepio's flight, and lamentation for the loss of the army. By this diversion I made the grief to flow afresh of those who were mourning for their friends, and re-excited the minds of the Roman knights before whom, as judges, the case was being pleaded, to hatred towards Quintus Caepio, from whom they were already alienated on account of the right of jury membership. **    

{49.} [200] L   "But as soon as I perceived that I was possessed the favour of the court, and that I had secured ground for defence, because I had both conciliated the good feeling of the people, whose rights I had maintained even in conjunction with sedition, and had brought over the whole feeling of the judges to our side of the question, either from their concern for the calamity of the public, or from grief or regret for their relations, or from their own individual aversion to Caepio, I then began to intermix with this vehement and ardent style of oratory that other species of which I discoursed before, full of lenity and mildness; saying that I was contending for my companion in office, who, according to the custom of our ancestors, ought to stand in relation to me as one of my children, and for almost my whole reputation and fortunes; that nothing could possibly happen more dishonourable to my character, or more bitterly adapted to give pain to me, than if I, who was reputed to have been oftentimes the preservation of those who were entire strangers to me, but yet my fellow-citizens, should not be able to assist an officer of my own. [201] I requested of the judges to make this concession to my age, to the honours which I had attained, to the actions which I had performed, if they saw that I was affected with a just and tender sorrow, and especially if they were aware that in other cases I had asked everything for my friends in peril, but never anything for myself. Thus, in the whole of that defence and case, the part which seemed to depend on art, the speaking on the Apuleian law, and explaining what it was to commit treason, I skimmed and touched upon as briefly as possible. But by the aid of these two parts of eloquence, to one of which belongs the excitement of the passions, to the other recommendation to favour, (parts not at all fully treated in the rules in books on the art,) was the whole of that case conducted by me; so that, in reviving the popular displeasure against Caepio, I appeared to be a person of the keenest acrimony; and, in speaking of my behaviour towards my friends, to be of the most humane disposition. In this manner, rather by exciting the passions of the judges than by informing their understandings, was your accusation, Sulpicius, at that time overthrown by me."    

{50.} [202] L   "In good truth, Antonius," interposed Sulpicius, "you recall these circumstances to my memory with justice; since I never saw anything slip out of any person's hands, as that case then slipped out of mine. For whereas, as you observed, I had given you not a case to plead, but a flame to extinguish; what a commencement was it (immortal gods!) that you made! What timidity was there! What distrust! What a degree of hesitation and slowness of speech! But as soon as you had gained by your exordium the only thing that the assembly would allow you as an excuse, namely, that you were pleading for a man intimately connected with you, and your own quaestor, how quickly did you secure your way to a fair audience! [203] But lo! when I thought that you had reaped no other benefit than that the hearers would think they ought to excuse you for defending a pernicious citizen, on account of the ties of union between you, you began to proceed gradually and tacitly, while others had as yet no suspicion of your designs, though I myself felt some apprehension, to maintain in your defence that what had happened was not sedition in Norbanus, but resentment on the part of the Roman people, resentment not excited unjustly, but deservedly, and in conformity with their duty. In the next place, what argument did you omit against Caepio? How did you confound all the circumstances of the case by allusions to hatred, ill-will, and compassion? Nor was this the case only in your defence, but even in regard to Scaurus and my other witnesses, whose evidence you did not confute by disproving it, but by having recourse to the same impetuosity of the people. [204] When those circumstances were mentioned by you just now, I felt no desire for any rules of instruction; for the very demonstration of your methods of defence, as stated by yourself, I regard as no ordinary instruction."   "But if you are so disposed," said Antonius, "I will tell you what maxims I adopt in speaking, and what I keep principally in view; for a long life and experience in important affairs have taught me to discern by what means the minds of men are to be moved.    

{51.} [205] L   "The first thing I generally consider is, whether the case requires that the minds of the audience should be excited; for such fiery oratory is not to be exerted on trivial subjects, nor when the minds of men are so affected that we can do nothing by eloquence to influence their opinions, lest we be thought to deserve ridicule or dislike, if we either act tragedies about trifles or endeavour to pluck up what cannot be moved. [206] For as the feelings on which we have to work in the minds of the judges, or whoever they may be before whom we may plead, are love, hatred, anger, envy, pity, hope, joy, fear, anxiety, we are aware that love may be gained if you seem to advocate what is advantageous to the persons before whom you are speaking; or if you appear to exert yourself in behalf of good men, or at least for such as are good and serviceable to them; for the latter case more engages favour, the former, the defence of virtue, esteem; and if a hope of future advantage is proposed, it has a greater effect than the mention of past benefits. [207] You must endeavour to show that in the case which you defend, either their dignity or advantage is concerned; and you should indicate that he for whom you solicit their love has referred nothing to his own private benefit, and done nothing at all for his own sake; for dislike is felt for the selfish gains of individuals, while favour is shown to their desires to serve others. [208] But we must take care, while we are on this topic, not to appear to extol the merit and glory of those whom we would wish to be esteemed for their good deeds, too highly, as these qualities are usually the greatest objects of envy. From these considerations, too, we shall learn how to draw hatred on our adversaries, and to avert it from ourselves and our friends. The same means are to be used, also, either to excite or allay anger; for if you exaggerate every fact that is hurtful or disadvantageous to the audience, their hatred is excited; but if anything of the kind is thrown out against men of worth, or against characters on whom no one ought to cast any reflection, or against the public, there is then produced, if not so violent a degree of hatred, at least an unfavourable feeling, or displeasure near akin to hatred. [209] Fear is also inculcated either from people's own dangers or those of the public. Personal fear affects men more deeply; but that which is common to all is to be treated by the orator as having similar influence. **    

{52.} "Similar, or rather the same, is the case with regard to hope, joy, and anxiety; but I know not whether the feeling of envy is not by far the most violent of all emotions; nor does it require less power to suppress than to excite it. Men envy chiefly their equals or inferiors when they perceive themselves left behind, and are mortified that the others have outstripped them; but there is often a strong unfavourable feeling towards superiors, which is the stronger if they are intolerably arrogant, and transgress the fair bounds of common justice through outstanding dignity or fortune. If such advantages are to be made instruments to kindle dislike, ** the chief thing to be said is, 'that they are not the acquisitions of virtue, that they have even been gained perhaps by vice and crime; and that, however honourable or imposing they may appear, no merit was ever carried so high as the insolence of mankind and their arrogant disdain." [210] To allay envy, it may be observed, that such advantages have been gained by extreme toil and imminent perils; that they have not been applied to the individual's own private benefit, but that of others; that he himself, if he appear to have gained any glory, although it might not be an undue reward for danger, was not elated with it, but wholly set it aside and undervalued it; and such an effect must by all means be produced (since most men are envious, and it is a most common and prevalent vice, and envy is felt towards all outstanding and flourishing fortune), that the opinion entertained of such characters be lowered, and that their fortunes, so excellent in people's imaginations, may appear mingled with labour and trouble.    

[211] L   "Pity is excited, if he who hears can be induced to apply to his own circumstances those unhappy particulars which are lamented in the case of others, particulars which they have either suffered or fear to suffer; and while he looks at another, to glance frequently at himself. Thus, as all the circumstances connected to human suffering are heard with concern, if they are pathetically represented, so virtue in affliction and humiliation is the most sorrowful of all objects to contemplate; and as that other department of eloquence which, by its recommendation of goodness, ought to give the picture of a virtuous man, should be in a gentle and (as I have often observed) a submissive strain, so this, which is adopted by the orator to effect a change in the minds of the audience, and to work upon them in every way, should be vehement and energetic.    

{53.} [212] L   "But there is a certain resemblance in these two kinds (one of which we would have to be gentle, the other vehement), that makes it difficult to distinguish them. For something of that gentleness with which we conciliate the affections of an audience, ought to mingle with the ardour with which we awaken their passions; and something of this ardour should occasionally communicate a warmth to our gentleness of language; nor is there any species of eloquence better tempered than that in which the asperity of contention in the orator is mitigated by his humanity, or in which the relaxed tone of gentleness is sustained by a becoming gravity and energy. [213] But in both modes of speaking, as well that in which spirit and force are required as that which is brought down to ordinary life and manners, the beginning should be slow, but the sequel full and diffuse. ** For you must not spring at once into the passionate portion of your speech, as it forms no part of the question, and men are first desirous to learn the very point that is to come under their judgment; nor, when you have entered upon that track, are you suddenly to diverge from it; [214] for you are not to suppose that as an argument is understood as soon as it is stated, and a second and a third are then desired, so you can with the same ease move compassion, or envy, or anger, as soon as you make the attempt. ** Reason itself confirms an argument which fixes itself in the mind as soon as it is delivered; but that sort of eloquence does not aim at instructing the judge, but rather at agitating his mind by excessive emotion, which no one can produce unless by fullness and variety and even copiousness of language, and a proportionate energy of delivery. [215] Those, therefore, who speak either with brevity, or in a low submissive strain, may indeed inform the judge, but can never move him, an effect on which success altogether depends. It is clear, that the ability of arguing on every subject on both sides of the question is drawn from the same considerations. But we must resist the force of an argument, either by refuting those things which are assumed in support of it, or by showing that the conclusion which our opponents would draw cannot be deduced from the premises, or possibly follow from them; or, if you cannot refute an argument in this manner, you must bring something against it of greater or equal weight. [216] But whatever is delivered with gentleness to conciliate favour, or with vehemence to excite emotion, is to be countered ** by moving contrary feelings, so that benevolence may be eradicated by hatred, and compassion be dispelled by jealousy.    

{54.} "A humorous manner, too, and strokes of wit, give pleasure to an audience, and are often of great advantage to the speaker; qualities which, even if everything else can be taught by art, are certainly peculiar gifts of nature, and require no aid from instruction. In that department you, Caesar, in my opinion, far excel all other men; on which account you can better bear me testimony, either that there is no art in wit, or, if there be any, you will best instruct us in it." [217] "I indeed," says Caesar, "think that a man who is not destitute of refined learning can discourse upon any subject more wittily than upon wit itself. Accordingly, when I met with some Greek books entitled 'On Jests,' I conceived some hope that I might learn something from them. I found, it is true, many laughable and witty sayings of the Greeks; for the Sicilians excel in that way, as well as the Rhodians and Byzantines, but, above all, the people of Attica. But they who have attempted to deliver rules and principles on that subject, have shown themselves so extremely foolish, that nothing else in them has excited laughter but their folly. [218] This talent, therefore, appears to me incapable of being communicated by teaching. As there are two kinds of wit, one running regularly through a whole speech, the other pointed and concise; the ancients named the former humour, ** the latter jesting. Each sort has but a light name, and justly; ** for it is altogether but a light thing to raise a laugh. [219] However, as you observe, Antonius, I have seen advantageous effects produced in pleadings by the aid of wit and humour; but, as in the former kind, I mean humour that runs through a speech, no aid from art is required, (for Nature forms and produces men to be facetious mimics or story-tellers; their look, and voice, and mode of expression assisting their conceptions;) so likewise in the other, that of occasional facetiousness, what room is there for art, when the joke ought to be uttered, and fixed in the mind of the hearer, before it appears possible to have been conceived? [220] For what assistance could my brother here receive from art, when, being asked by Philippus why he barked so, he replied, Because he saw a thief? Or what aid could Crassus have received in that whole speech which he delivered before the centumviri, in opposition to Scaevola, or when he pleaded for Gnaeus Plancus against the accusation of Brutus? For that talent which you, Antonius, attribute to me, must be allowed to Crassus by the confession of all mankind; since hardly any person can be found besides him eminent in both these kinds of wit, that which runs through a continued discourse, and that which consists in smartness and occasional jokes. [221] His whole defence in the case of Curius, in opposition to Scaevola, was full of a certain pleasantry and humour; but of those sharp short jests it had none; for he was wary of the dignity of his opponent, and in that respect maintained his own; though it is extremely difficult for men of wit and facetiousness to preserve a regard to persons and times, and to suppress what occurs to them when it may be expressed with most pungent effect. Accordingly, some jesters put a humorous interpretation upon the well-known words of Ennius; [222] for he said, as they observe, that a wise man can more easily keep in flame while his mouth is on fire, than withhold 'good words' {bona dicta}; and they say that 'good words' mean witty sayings; for sayings are called dicta by an appropriate term.    

{55.} "But as Crassus forbore to use such jests in his speech against Scaevola, and sported throughout that case and discussion with that other type of humour in which there are no stings of sarcasm; so in that against Brutus, whom he hated, and thought deserving of insult, he fought with both kinds of wit. [223] How many severe things did he say about the baths which Brutus had lately sold? how many on the loss of his paternal estate? And they were concise; as when Brutus, speaking of himself, said that he sweated without cause. 'No wonder that you sweat,' said Crassus, 'for you are just turned out of the baths.' There were innumerable things of this kind in the speech, but his continuous vein of pleasantry was not less amusing; for when Brutus had called up two readers, and had given to one the speech of Crassus upon the colony of Narbo, to the other that on the Servilian law, to read, and had compared together the contradictory sections on public affairs contained in each, our friend very facetiously gave the three books of Brutus's father, written on the civil law, to three different persons to read. [224] Out of the first book was read this sentence, 'It happened by chance that we were on my estate at Privernum.' On which clause Crassus made this observation, 'Brutus, your father testifies that he left you an estate at Privernum.' Again, out of the second book, 'My son Marcus and I were at my Alban villa;' when Crassus remarked, 'This wise man, who was justly ranked among the wisest in our city, had evidently some foreknowledge of this spendthrift's character, and was afraid, that when he came to have nothing, it might be imagined that nothing was left him.' Afterwards out of the third book, with which the author concluded his work, (for that number of books, as I have heard Scaevola say, are the genuine compositions of Brutus,) 'It chanced that my son Marcus and myself were sitting in my villa near Tibur;' when Crassus exclaimed, 'Where are those estates now, Brutus, that your father left you, as recorded in his public commentaries? But if he had not seen you arrived at the age of puberty, he would have composed a fourth book, and left it in writing that he talked with his son in his own baths.' [225] Who does not acknowledge, now, that Brutus was not less confounded by this humour, these comic jests, than by that tragic tone which the same orator adopted, when by accident, during the hearing of the same case, the funeral procession of the old lady Junia passed by? O immortal gods! what force and energy was that with which he spoke! how unexpected! how sudden! when, casting his eyes that way, with his whole gesture directed towards Brutus, with the utmost gravity and rapidity of expression, he exclaimed, 'Brutus, why do you sit still? What would you have that old lady communicate to your father? What to all those whose statues you see carried by? What to your other ancestors? What to Lucius Brutus, who freed this people from regal tyranny? What shall she say that you are doing? What business, what glory, what virtue shall she say that you are pursuing? That you are engaged in increasing your patrimony? But that is no characteristic of nobility. [226] Yet suppose it were; you have none left to increase; your extravagance has squandered the whole of it. That you are studying the civil law? That was your father's pursuit; but she will relate that when you sold your house, you did not even among the furniture ** reserve the chair from which your father answered his clients. That you are applying yourself to the military art? You who have never seen a camp. Or to eloquence? But no portion of eloquence dwells in you; and such power of voice and tongue as you have, you have devoted to the infamous trade of a common informer. Dare you even behold the light? Or look this assembly in the face? Dare you present yourself in the forum, in the city, in the public assembly of the citizens? Do you not fear even that dead corpse, and those very images of your ancestors, you who have not only left yourself no room for the imitation of their virtues, but none in which you can place their statues?'  

{56.} [227] L   "This is in a tragic and sublime strain of language; but you all recollect instances without number of facetiousness and polite humour in one speech; for never was there a more vehement dispute on any occasion, or an speech of greater power delivered before the people, than that of Crassus lately in his censorship, in opposition to his colleague, nor one better seasoned with wit and humour. I agree with you, therefore, Antonius, in both points, that jesting is often of great advantage in speaking, and that it cannot be taught by any rules of art. But I am astonished that you should attribute so much power to me in that way, and not assign to Crassus the palm of pre-eminence in this as in other departments of eloquence." [228] "I should have done so," said Antonius, "if I had not sometimes envied Crassus a little in this respect; for to be ever so facetious and witty is not of itself an extraordinary subject of envy; but, when you are the most graceful and polite of speakers, to be, and to be thought, at the same time, the most grave and dignified of men, a distinction which has been granted to Crassus alone, seems to me almost unendurable." [229] Crassus having smiled at this, Antonius said, "But, Julius, while you denied that art had anything to do with facetiousness, you brought to our notice something that seemed worthy of precept; for you said that regard ought to be paid to persons, times, and circumstances, that jesting might not detract from dignity; a rule which is particularly observed by Crassus. But this rule only directs that jokes should be suppressed when there is no fair occasion for them; what we desire to know is, how we may use them when there is occasion; as against an adversary, especially if his folly be open to attack, or against a foolish, covetous, trifling witness, if the audience seem disposed to listen patiently. [230] Those sayings are more likely to be approved which we utter on provocation, than those which we utter when we begin an attack; for the quickness of wit, which is shown in answering, is more remarkable, and to reply is thought allowable, as being natural to the human temper; since it is presumed that we should have remained quiet if we had not been attacked; as in that very speech to which you alluded scarcely anything was said by our friend Crassus here, anything at least that was at all humorous, which he did not utter in reply, and on provocation. For there was so much gravity and authority in Domitius, ** that the objections which came from him seemed more likely to be enfeebled by jests than broken by arguments."    

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FOOTNOTES

    

(1)   The words in brackets are regarded by all the best critics as the production of some interpolator. 

(2)   That the allusion is to the islands of the Sirens, who tried to allure Ulysses to listen to their song, the commentators have already observed. Ellendt. 

(3)   Quum erat in hac gente Magna illa Graecia, 'when Great Greece was in (or among) this people.' In hac gente, i.e. in Italis, among the Italians, or in Italy. Ellendt. 

(4)   In one of the tragedies of Pacuvius were represented two brothers, Amphion and Zethus, the former fond of philosophy, music, and the refined arts, the other of a rougher disposition, addicted to war and despising science. To this story Horace also alludes, Ep. i. 18. 41:    
Gratia sic fratrum geminorum Amphionis atque  
Zethi, dissiluit, donee suspecta severo  
Conticuit lyra. Fraternis cessisse putatur  
Moribus Amphion. B. 

(5)   In this passage I adopt the correction, or rather restoration, of Ellendt, Nam et omne, quod eloquimur, fit, ut id aut esse dicamus aut non esse. All other modern editions for fit have sic. 

(6)   Diogenes, and other Stoics like him. Proust. 

(7)   Terence, Andr. i. 1. 83. Colman's Translation. 

(8)   I follow Ellendt's text: Sic has ego argumentorum volui notas quaerenti demonstrare ubi sint. Orellius and most other editors have Sic has ego argumentorum novi notas, quae illa mihi quaerenti demonstrant, 'sententia perinepta' as Ellendt observes; for it was not what Antonius himself knew that was to be specified, but how he wished learners to be assisted. 

(9)   Pacuvius in his Hermione, as appears from Nonius v. flexanima. The thought is borrowed from Euripides, Hec. 816. Ellendt. 

(10)   See note on c. 28. 

(11)   See note on c. 47. 

(12)   The forefinger, which Crasaus is said to hare pointed with wonderful effect. See Quintilian, xi. 3. 94. 

(13)   Spondalia. For this word I have given 'verses.' 'That it is corrupt,' says Ellendt, 'all the commentators agree.' Hermann, Opusc. i. p. 304, conjectures e sponda illa, 'from that couch,'  on which he supposes Telamon may have been reclining. 

(14)   Quintus Servilius Caepio, in his consulship, says Henrichsen, had embezzled a large portion of the gold taken at the capture of Toulouse, 106 B.C.   In the following year, when, through the disagreement between him and the consul Manlius, the Romans were defeated in two battles by the Cimbri, his property was confiscated, and his command taken from him. Some years afterwards, 95 B.C., when Crassus and Scaevola were consuls, Gaius Norbanus, then tribune of the people, brought Caepio to trial, as it appears, for the embezzlement of the gold at Toulouse, and for exciting sedition in the city. The senate, to whom Caepio, in his consulship, had tried to restore the judicial power, exerted themselves strongly in his behalf; but Norbanus, after exciting a great tumult, carried his point by force, and Caepio went into banishment at Smyrna. 

(15)   As Caepio had tried to take it out of the hands of the knights, and to restore it to the senate. 

(16)   Since public or common fear must affect individuals. 

(17)   Quae si inflammanda sunt. An elegant mode of expresaion, for 'si ad animos invidia inflammandos adhibenda sunt tanquam faces.' Ernesti. 

(18)   Exitus spissi et producti esse debent. 'Non abrupti, sed lenti.' Ellendt. 'Vehementes et longiores.' Proust. 

(19)   Simul atque intuleris. Rem sc. 'As soon as you have introduced the subject.'

(20)   Orellius's text has inferenda; many others, efferenda. There have been various conjectures offered, as infirmamda, evertenda, elevanda, infringenda. The reader may take his choice. 

(21)   Cavillatio. Ironical or satirical humour seems to be meant. 

(22)   Quippe; leve enim, etc. Quippe is equivalent to the Greek eikotōs. Ellendt. 

(23)   Ne in rutis quidem et caesis. Ruta were such things as could be removed from houses and other premises without pulling down or damaging any portion of them; caesa, as Proust remarks, refers to the cutting down of trees. 

(24)   Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus, in his tribuneship, 103 B.C., was hostile to the pontifices, because they had not chosen him in the place of his father, and proposed a law that those who were chosen by the pontifices into their body should not be appointed till their choice was sanctioned by the people. Veil. Pat. ii. 12; Suet. Ner. 2; Cic. Rull, ii. 7. He had some ability in speaking, but was not numbered among eminent orators. Cic. Brut. 45. Henrichsen. 



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