Cicero : Philippic 10

This speech was delivered against Marcus Antonius, in March 43 B.C.

The translation is by W.C.A. Ker (1926). 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   We ought, Pansa, to feel and to express the greatest gratitude to you; for, although we did not think you would hold a meeting of the Senate to-day, yet, since you received the letter of that most distinguished citizen, Marcus Brutus, you have not allowed even a moment's delay to prevent our enjoyment at the earliest opportunity of so great a cause of delight and congratulation. This action of yours should be welcome to all, and especially the speech you made when you had read the letter; for you showed it to be true, as I have always felt, that no man grudges another's merit who is conscious of his own. Accordingly I, whose association with Brutus springs from very many kindly offices and the closest friendship, need not say much of him; [2] for the part I had assumed for myself your speech has anticipated. But I am compelled, conscript fathers, by the opinion of the Senator ** who was called on before me to say somewhat more; I dissent so often from him that I am already apprehensive that - though nothing of the kind ought to result - my continual dissent may diminish our friendship.

[3] For on what principle, Calenus, with what purpose is it, that never since the Kalends of January have you expressed an opinion in agreement with him ** who calls upon you first? that the Senate has never been so full that a single Senator supported your opinion? Why are you always defending men unlike yourself? why, when your life and fortune invite you to the enjoyment of ease and dignity, do you approve, propose, and sympathise with measures inimical to general tranquillity and to your own dignity ?

[2.] L   [4] For - to say nothing of former matters - this one thing at least, which causes me the greatest wonder, I will not pass over. What war is this you wage against the Brutuses? why do you alone attack those whom we all ought almost to revere? That one of them is being besieged causes you no trouble; the other ** you are by your proposal robbing of those forces which he of his own motion and at his own risk, and with no assistance, has got together for the protection of the State, not for his own. What is your feeling, what your idea, that you think ill of the Brutuses, well of the Antonii? that those whom we all hold most dear you hate? and those whom the rest hate most bitterly you most consistently love? You have a most ample fortune, the highest rank of honour, a son who - as I hear and hope - is born to win eminence, and whom I wish well for the sake of the State, and especially for yours. [5] I ask then, would you prefer him to be like Brutus or like an Antonius? and I allow you to choose which of the three Antonii you wish. "Heaven forbid!" you will say. Why then do you not support, not eulogise those whom you wish your son to resemble? for you will then at the same time consult the interest of the State and set before him examples for imitation.

But there is one point, Quintus Fufius, on which, without injury to our friendship, but as a Senator disagreeing with you, I wish to expostulate with you. You said, and that from a written draft - else I should imagine you had made a slip for want of a word [did I not know your readiness of speech] - you said the letter of Brutus seemed written "well and regularly." ** What is this but the praise of Brutus' secretary, not of Brutus? [6] You ought to have by now, Calenus - as you well may - great experience in State affairs. When have you seen such a decree? or in what Senatorial resolution of this kind - they have been innumerable - a decree by the Senate that letters have been well written? The phrase did not escape you, as often happens, by accident; you brought it in writing, thought out and pondered.

[3.] L   If someone would purge you of this habit of carping at good men on most occasions, will you not have every quality left which any man might desire for himself? Wherefore pull yourself together, and at length pacify and compose your mind ; listen to good men, of whom you associate with many; converse with that wisest of men, your son-in-law, oftener than with yourself - then at length will you win a name of the fullest distinction. Do you really think it nothing - here indeed, having regard to our friendship, I often grieve on your account - that it should be wafted abroad, and reach the ears of the Roman people, that the Senator who first gave his vote found no supporter ? I think this will also be the case to-day.

You wish to withdraw the legions from Brutus. What legions? those, of course, which he saved from aiding the crimes of Antonius, and on his own authority transferred to the State. You wish then that a second time ** he should appear a defenceless and solitary exile from the State. [7] But you, conscript fathers - if you abandon and betray Marcus Brutus, what citizen, I ask, will you ever distinguish? whom will you countenance? unless perhaps you think that those who set the diadem on Caesar's head ** should be upheld, but those who abolished the title of king should be abandoned. And here of the god-like and immortal exploit of Brutus ** I will say nothing; it ' is enshrined in the grateful remembrance of all, though not yet attested by public authority. Good Heavens! what patience he showed, what moderation, what calmness and modesty in the face of wrong! Though he was urban praetor he left the city; he held no courts, though he had recovered for the State all law ; and though he might have been surrounded day by day by a concourse of all good men - and a wonderful throng usually followed him - and by the bodyguard of the whole of Italy, he chose rather to be defended by the opinion of good men in his absence than by their swords in his presence. He did not even celebrate in person the Apollinarian games, which had been planned in a style befitting his own dignity and that of the Roman people, lest he should open a way to the audacious attempts of the most atrocious criminals.

[4.] L   [8] Yet what games or festivals were ever more joyous than when, in answer to individual verses, ** the Roman people with the loudest shouts and applause greeted the memory of Brutus? The person of the liberator was absent, of the liberty the memory was there; and therein the very image of Brutus seemed to be visible. But during those very days of the games I saw him on the island ** of that most noble young man, Lucullus, his neighbour, thinking of nothing but of peace and of the concord of his fellow-citizens. I saw him also afterwards at Velia when he was departing from Italy that no occasion for civil war should arise on his account. Oh, what a sight was that, mournful, not for men merely, but for the very waves and shores! that from his country her saviour should be departing, that in his country her destroyers should remain! The fleet of Cassius followed a few days after, so that I was ashamed, conscript fathers, to return to that city whence they were departing. But my purpose in returning you have heard at the beginning, ** and have afterwards learnt by experience. [9] Brutus, therefore, has bided his time; for so long as he saw you put up with everything he maintained a marvellous patience ; after he saw you alert to win your liberty, he has made ready a safeguard for your liberty

And what a monstrous pest he withstood! For if Caius Antonius ** could have carried out his intention - and he might have done so had not the courage of Marcus Brutus opposed his crime - we should have lost Macedonia, Illyricum, and Greece; Greece would have been either a refuge for Antonius if defeated, or a rampart from which to attack Italy ; but now in fact, being, by the military command, the authority, and the forces of Marcus Brutus, not merely ready, but even fully furnished for war, she stretches out her hand to Italy, and promises her protection ; and he who withdraws from Brutus his army robs the State of a most favourable refuge and of the strongest bulwark. [10] As for myself, I wish Antonius to hear of this as soon as possible, so as to understand that it is not Decimus Brutus he is surrounding with his palisade, but that he himself is being besieged.

[5.] L   He holds just three towns ** in the whole world ; he has Gaul bitterly hostile, and those too on whom he trusted much alienated, the Transpadanes ; all Italy is unfriendly; foreign nations, from the nearest shores of Greece as far as Egypt, are held by garrisons in the command of the most loyal and bravest citizens. His single hope was in Caius Antonius, who, coming in age between his two brothers, was in vice the rival of them both; and Caius ran off so quickly that he might have been thrust by the Senate into Macedonia and not, on the contrary, forbidden ** to set out. [11] Heavens! what a storm, what a blaze, what a devastation, what a plague would there have been in Greece if incredible and god-like valour had not crushed the madman's audacious enterprise! How quick Brutus was then! how resourceful! how valiant! However, even in Caius Antonius quickness is not to be despised: had not some lapsed inheritances ** delayed him on the way, you would have said he flew rather than marched. When we wish other men to proceed on some public business we as a rule thrust them out with difficulty: this man we thrust out by trying to keep him back. ** But what had he to do with Apollonia? with Dyrrachium? with Illyricum? with the army of the general Publius Vatinius? He succeeded, as he himself asserted, Hortensius. There are fixed boundaries to Macedonia, fixed conditions of tenure, a fixed army, if it had any; but with Illyricum and with the legions of Vatinius what had Antonius to do? "Or Brutus either," for that some unfriendly person will perhaps say. [12] All the legions, all the forces anywhere belong to the State; for not even those legions that deserted Marcus Antonius can be said to have belonged to Antonius rather than to the State. For all right to an army and to military command is lost by the man who uses that command and that army to attack the State.

[6.] L   But should the State itself pass judgment, or if right were wholly determined by its decrees, is it to Antonius or to Brutus it would assign the legions of the Roman people? The one had suddenly taken flight to plunder and destroy the allies, so that, wherever he went, he devastated, plundered, and robbed everything, and employed an army of the Roman people against the Roman people itself ; the other bad laid down this law for himself that, wherever he came, light, as it were, and hope of salvation should seem to have come with him. In short, the one looked for supports to overturn the State, the other to preserve it. Nor indeed was this plainer to us than to the soldiers themselves, from whom no such clearness of judgment was to be looked for.

[13] He writes that Antonius is at Apollonia with seven legions. He is either already a prisoner - which Heaven grant! - or at least, being a modest man, he does not venture to enter Macedonia, so as to avoid the appearance of acting against the Senate's decree. A levy has been held in Macedonia through the consummate zeal and assiduity of Quintus Hortensius, a man whose extraordinary spirit, worthy of himself and of his ancestors, you have been enabled to gauge from the letter of Brutus. The legion which Caius Piso, the legate of Antonius, was commanding has transferred itself to my son Cicero. Of the cavalry, which was being marched into Syria in two divisions, one division has left its commander, the quaestor, in Thessaly, and has joined Brutus; the other in Macedonia Cnaeus Domitius, a young man of the highest valour, resolution, and steadiness, has withdrawn from the legate of Syria. And Publius Vatinius, who has been before rightly commended by you, and is at this time rightly worthy of commendation, has opened to Brutus the gates of Dyrrachium and handed over his army.

[14] The State therefore is in possession of Macedonia, of Illyricum, and is guarding Greece ; ours are the legions, ours the light-armed troops, ours the cavalry ; and above all Brutus is and always will be ours, born as he is to serve the State, not only by his preeminent virtue, but by some design of fate attaching to his father's and to his mother's race and name.

[7.] L   Is it from this man then that anyone fears war, a man who, before we were forced to take up war, preferred obscurity in peace to success in war? Not that indeed he was ever obscure; such a phrase cannot attach to such eminence of virtue. For the State pined for him; he was on every lip, and the theme of all men's talk; but he was so averse from war that, although Italy was afire with longing for liberty, he failed to second the zeal of his fellow-citizens rather than bring them into the risk of battle. Therefore the very persons - if any such there be - who censure the slowness of Brutus, yet at the same time admire his moderation and patience.

[15] But I see now what they say; for they make no concealment. They say they are afraid how the veterans will take Brutus' possession of the army. As if there were any difference between the army of Aulus Hirtius, of Caius Pansa, of Decimus Brutus, and of Caius Caesar, and this army of Marcus Brutus ! For if those four armies I have mentioned are commended for taking up arms on behalf of the liberty of the Roman people, what reason is there why this army of Marcus Brutus is not placed in the same category? Oh, but the name of Marcus Brutus is suspected by the veterans! More than that of Decimus? I myself think not; for though the deed ** is common to both the Brutuses, and they have an equal partnership in its renown, yet those who lamented that deed were more angry with Decimus, just because it was, they said, less fitting for him ** to take part in it. What then are so many armies now engaged in but the liberation of Brutus from the siege ? And who are the leaders of these armies? Those, I suppose, who wish Caius Caesar's acts to be upset and the cause of the veterans betrayed !

[8.] L   [16] If Caius Caesar were himself alive he would, I suppose, defend more keenly his own acts than that brave man Hirtius is defending them ** or someone can be found more friendly to Caesar's cause than his son! ** But of these men one, though not yet recovered from a lingering and most serious malady, has devoted what strength he had to the defence of the liberty of those by whose prayers he has regarded himself as rescued from death; the other, ** more vigorous in the strength of virtue than of age, has set forth with those very veterans to liberate Decimus Brutus. Therefore those most certain and most active supporters of the acts of Caesar are waging war on behalf of the safety of Decimus Brutus; the veterans follow them; for it is for the liberty of the Roman people, not for their own advantage, they see they must struggle in arms. What reason is there then why, when these men wish to use all their forces for the preservation of Decimus Brutus, the army of Marcus Brutus should be suspected by them ?

[17] If there were any cause for apprehension from Marcus Brutus would not Pansa see it? or, if he did see it, would he not be anxious? Who is wiser to gauge future events, or more active to ward off a danger? And yet you have seen his feeling towards Marcus Brutus, and his zeal to assist him. He has instructed us in his speech what we should decree, and what we should feel concerning Marcus Brutus; and so far was he from deeming the army of Marcus Brutus a danger to the State that in it he found the stoutest and most important bulwark of the State. Oh, no doubt Pansa either does not see this - for he is of dull intellect - or disregards it, for he does not care that Caesar's acts be ratified! and yet he intends, with our authority, to propose a law at the comitia centuriata for their confirmation and ratification.

[9.] L   Either, then, let those who are not afraid cease to pretend they are afraid and are providing for the safety of the State, or let those who are apprehensive of everything cease to be over-timid, lest the pretences of one party, or the cowardice of the other, stand in our way. [18] What the plague is the meaning of this constantly opposing the best of causes with the name of the veterans? Dearly as I might cherish their valour - as I do - yet, if they were arrogant, I would not put up with their caprices. While we are striving to burst the shackles of slavery, shall some man's statement that the veterans do not wish it hamper us? For there are not, I suppose, countless numbers of persons to take up arms for the common liberty! there is no man but the veteran soldiers to be roused by a freeman's indignation to ward off slavery! Can, then, the State stand, in reliance on the veterans, without the strong support of the young men? As to the veterans, you ought to welcome them as aids to liberty, as abettors of slavery you ought not to follow them.

[19] Finally - let me give utterance at last to a word, true and worthy of myself - if the purposes of this our order are governed by the nod of the veterans, and all our sayings and doings are regulated according to their will, I should choose death, which to Roman citizens has always been preferable to slavery. All slavery is wretched; but grant there was a slavery that was unavoidable ; ** do you contemplate ever beginning the recovery of your liberty? When we could not endure that unavoidable and almost Fate-designed calamity, shall we endure this voluntary one? The whole of Italy is aflame with the longing for liberty; the community can no longer be slaves; we have given the Roman people this garb ** and these arms, but long after they have been demanded by it.

[10.] L   [20] It is indeed with a great and well-nigh assured hope that we have taken up the cause of liberty; but though I allow that the issues of war are uncertain and Mars inconstant, yet must we struggle for liberty at the risk of life. For life does not consist in breath: it does not exist at all in the slave. All other nations can bear slavery; our community cannot, and for no other reason than that other nations shun toil and pain, and, to be free from these, can endure all things; but we have been so trained and our minds so imbued by our ancestors as to refer all our thoughts and acts to the standard of honour and virtue. So glorious is the recovery of liberty that in regaining liberty we must not shrink even from death, Nay, if immortality were to follow the shrinking from present peril, yet from that it would seem we should shrink the more, as a perpetuation of servitude. ** But seeing that days and nights all manner of chances surround us on every side, it is not the part of a man, least of all of a Roman, to hesitate to surrender the breath he owes nature to his fatherland.

[21] Men throng from all sides to quench the general conflagration, The veterans who were the first to follow Caesar's lead have repelled the attempts of Antonius; afterwards the Martian legion has broken his frenzy, and the fourth crushed it to the earth. So, condemned by his own legions, he burst into Gaul, which he knew to be unfriendly and hostile to him both in action and in feelings. The armies of Aulus Hirtius and of Caius Caesar have followed him up; afterwards Pansa's levy has roused this city and the whole of Italy. He is the one enemy of all men; though he has with him his brother Lucius, a citizen most dear to the Roman people, the loss of whom the community can bear no longer. ** [22] What can be more hideous, more savage than that beast? who seems to have been born for this reason, that the basest of all living men might not be seen in Marcus Antonius. With him is Trebellius, who, now there is a ledger clean of debts, is reconciled to him ; ** Plancus and others like him, whose struggle and aim is to make their restoration from exile be seen to be pernicious to the State. And Saxa and Cafo are tampering with ignorant men, being clowns and rustics themselves, who have never seen, and do not wish to see, the State established, men who defend the acts, not of Caesar, but of Antonius, whom the unlimited possession of Campanian land has seduced, though I much wonder that they are not ashamed of it when they see they have mimes, male and female, as neighbours.

[11.] L   [23] For the crushing of these pests, why should we be displeased that the army of Marcus Brutus is added to us? an intemperate man, I suppose, and a turbulent; consider whether he is not almost too patient, though he is a man in whom, whether in thought or deed, there has never been anything either too much or too little. Every wish of Marcus Brutus, conscript fathers, every thought, the whole of his mind, looks to the authority of the Senate and the liberty of the Roman people: these he sets before him, these he desires to protect. He has tried what patience could effect ; since it effected nothing, he deemed he should essay force against force. To him, conscript fathers, your duty is at this crisis to pay the same tribute as on the twentieth of December you paid at my instance to Decimus Brutus and Caius Caesar, whose private undertaking and action was by your authority approved and commended. ** [24] Your duty is to do the same thing in the case of Marcus Brutus, by whom an unexpected and hasty reinforcement for the State, in the shape of a great and strong force of legions, cavalry, and auxiliary troops, has been got together.

With him should be associated Quintus Hortensius, who, when he held Macedonia, allied himself to Brutus as a most trusty and steadfast coadjutor in the raising of his army. For concerning Marcus Apuleius I propose a separate motion: Marcus Brutus is a witness by his letter to his being the first to urge him to the endeavour of raising an army.

[25] In these circumstances, whereas Caius Pansa, the consul, has mentioned the letter received from Quintus Caepio Brutus ** the proconsul which has been read in this assembly, on that matter I propose as follows :

"Whereas by the exertions, strategy, energy, and valour of Quintus Caepio Brutus proconsul, at a most difficult crisis for the State the province of Macedonia, and Illyricum, and the whole of Greece, and the legions, armies, and cavalry, are in the jurisdiction of the consuls, the Senate, and the Roman people, Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, has acted well and in the interests of the State, and in accordance with his own honour and that of his ancestors, and the precedents of good administration of the State ; and such action is and will be welcome to the Senate and to the Roman people ; [26] moreover, Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, should protect, defend, guard, and keep safe the province of Macedonia, Illyricum, and the whole of Greece; and should command the army which he himself has established and raised, and should employ and levy, if occasion arise, for military operations any public moneys that can be levied, and may borrow from whomsoever he thinks good moneys for military operations and command supplies, and see to it that he be with his forces as near as possible to Italy. And whereas from the letter of Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, it is understood that by the exertions and valour of Quintus Hortensius, proconsul, the State has been greatly assisted, and that all his counsels have been in accordance with the counsels of Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, and that that circumstance has been of great service to the State; it is decreed that Quintus Hortensius, proconsul, has acted rightly, and in order, and in the interest of the State; and that it is the Senate's pleasure that Quintus Hortensius, proconsul, should with a quaestor or proquaestor, and with his own legates, hold the province of Macedonia until his successor be appointed by senatorial decree."


1.   Q. Fufius Calenus, the father-in-law of the Consul Pansa. For this reason perhaps he was called upon first, the choice being in the discretion of the consul. The usual course was to call upon one of the consuls elect.

2.   The Consul Pansa.

3.   The Brutuses mentioned are respectively Dec. and M. Brutus.

4.   A very forced criticism. - 'Recte ef ordine' means "rightly and properly"; cf. the last ch. ('recte et ordine fecisse'). Cal. referred no doubt only to the tone of the letter.

5.   Both M. Brutus and Cassius had been compelled, in peril of their lives, to leave Rome finally, probably in April 44: cf. Phil. ii. 18 ('quos tu expulsos praedicas et relegatos').

6.   Antonius.

7.   Caesar's assassination.

8.   From the Tereus of Accius ; cf. Phil. i. 15.

9.   Nesis, between Puteoli and Neapolis; Cic. Epp. ad Att. 16. 1-4.

10.   In the first Philippic.

11.   He had, about the end of Nov. 44 B.C., left Rome to take up the government of Macedonia, which had been allotted to him in the 'religiosa sortitio' of Nov. 28: cf. Phil. iii. 10. 24. The title to this, and other provinces, was complicated.

12.   Bononia, Regium Lepidi (Reggio), and Parma: Cic. Epp. ad Fam. 12. 5.

13.   The allotment of Macedonia on Nov. 28 (Phil. iii. 10) to C. Ant. having been annulled by the decree concerning provinces on Dec. 20 (ibid. 15).

14.   Which he seized, thus robbing those legally entitled.

15.   C. goes on to argue that, even if C. Antonius had a claim to Macedonia, yet he had none to the other provinces, or to the legions of Vatinius, the proconsul in Illyricum. And if M. Brutus had none either, yet he had a moral claim, as he was supporting the State.

16.   The murder of Caesar.

17.   He had been a favourite of Julius, had received Cisalpine Gaul from him, and been mentioned in his will.

18.   This is, of course, ironical. C.'s argument is that the veterans cannot distrust those who are defending J. Caesar's cause.

19.   Octavianus, the younger Caesar.

20.   The two alluded to are Hirtius, the consul, and the younger Caesar respectively.

21.   Under Julius Caesar.

22.   The sagum, or military dress.

23.   Muretus suggests that C. is in this passage thinking of Sarpedon's speech to Glaucus in Hom. Il. 12. 322, where he says that, if they two could escape the war and become immortal, neither would he himself fight, nor urge Glaucus. "But," says C., "immortality is too dear at the price of dishonour."

24.   A sarcastic allusion to him as the patron of the Roman tribes: cf. Phil. vi. 5.

25.   T. had, as tribune of the commons, opposed a general abolition of debts, and had afterwards supported it: cf. Phil, vi. 4.

26.   See the third Philippic.

27.   His name on adoption by Q. Servilius Caepio.

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