Cicero : Philippic 4

This speech was delivered against Marcus Antonius, in December 44 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   [1] Your incredible numbers, Romans, and the size - greater than I seem to remember - of this assembly, inspire me both with the greatest eagerness to defend the State and with hope of re-establishing it. Yet it was not that the spirit ever failed me; opportunities failed; and as soon as ever the times seemed to shed some gleam of light, I was the first to defend your liberty. Had I attempted to do so before, I should not be able to do so now ; for on this very day, Romans - that you may not deem it a trivial matter which has been accomplished - the foundations have been laid of what remains to be accomplished. For Antonius, though not yet in word so called, has in fact been adjudged by the Senate to be a public enemy. [2] Now, indeed, I am much more encouraged in that you too, with such unanimous applause, have confirmed that title.

For, Romans, the position cannot be otherwise than this: either those are disloyal that have levied armies against a consul, or that man is an enemy against whom arms have rightly been taken up. Doubt on this point then - though there was no doubt - yet the possibility of doubt, the Senate has to day removed. Caius Caesar, who, by his zeal, his policy, and lastly by the contribution of his patrimony, has protected and is protecting the State and your liberty, has been honoured by the Senate with the highest commendation. ** [3] I commend, I commend you, Romans, for greeting with the warmest gratitude the name of a most noble young man, or rather boy; for though his deeds belong to immortality, the name of boy belongs to his age. Much I remember, much have I heard, much, Romans, have I read ; no such act have I ever known amid the records of all the ages. When we were being oppressed with slavery, when, day by day, the evil was growing, when we had no protection, when we were then fearing the deadly and , pestilent return of Marcus Antonius from Brundisium, he adopted this policy, one unhoped for, at any rate unknown to all, of raising an unbeaten army of his father's soldiers, and turning aside the frenzied Antonius, when spurred on by the most cruel designs, from the destruction of the State.

[2.] L   [4] For who does not understand this, that, if Caesar had not levied his army, the return of Antonius would have entailed our ruin? For in such a mind was he coming back, burning with hatred of you, red with the blood of Roman citizens whom he had slain at Suessa, at Brundisium, that he had no thought but for the destruction of the Roman people. And what safeguard was there for your lives and liberty, if Caesar's army of his father's stoutest soldiers had not existed? And with regard to the praises and honours due to him - and divine and immortal honours are due for his divine and immortal services - the Senate has just now decreed on my motion that they be taken into consideration at the earliest possible moment.

[5] Who does not perceive that by that decree Antonius has been adjudged an enemy? for what can we call the man, when the Senate decrees that special honours should be devised for those that lead armies against him? What? did not the Martian legion (which appears to me to have derived its name by divine consent from that God from whom by tradition the Roman people has sprung), by its own resolution before that of the Senate, adjudge Antonius an enemy? For if he is not an enemy we must certainly adjudge those that have deserted the consul to be enemies. Gloriously and in season, Romans, have you by your repeated shouts approved that most honourable action of the Martians, who have come to maintain the authority of the Senate, your liberties, and the entire State, who have deserted the enemy and brigand and parricide of his fatherland. [6] And it is not only with spirit and courage, but also with deliberation and wisdom they have done so; they stationed themselves at Alba, in a city conveniently placed, fortified, close to us, and full of the bravest men and of the most trusty and loyal citizens. Copying the good conduct of this Martian legion, the fourth legion under the command of Lucius Egnatuleius, whom for his services the Senate has just now commended, has followed the army of Caius Caesar.

[3.] L   What severer judgments, Marcus Antonius, are you waiting for? Caesar is exalted to the skies who has levied an army against you; legions are praised in the most generous terms that have abandoned you, that have been summoned by you, that, if you had chosen to be a consul rather than an enemy, would have been yours; and the judgment of those legions, most courageous and true as it is, the Senate ratifies, the whole Roman people approves - unless maybe, you, Romans, adjudge Antonius to be a consul, not an enemy. [7] I thought your judgment, Romans, was as you show it to be. What? do you think the municipia, the colonies, the praefectures, determine otherwise? All living men agree with one mind that every weapon those who wish this our State to be saved possess must be grasped to oppose that pest, What? does the judgment, Romans, of Decimus Brutus, which you could gauge by his edict of to-day, appear now one to be despised? Rightly and truly, Romans, you say No. For it is by the kindness and bounty of the immortal Gods, as it were, that the race and name of Brutus has been bestowed on the State, either to establish or to recover the liberty of the Roman people. [8] What then is the judgment of Decimus Brutus on Marcus Antonius? He shuts him out of his province; with an army he resists him; he exhorts to war all Gaul, already itself roused of its own accord, and by its own judgment. If Antonius is a consul, Brutus is an enemy; if Brutus is the saviour of the State, Antonius is its enemy.

[4.] L   Can we then doubt which of these alternatives is true? And as you with one mind and one voice say you do not doubt, so has the Senate just decreed, that Decimus Brutus deserves excellently of the State in defending the authority of the Senate, and the liberty and empire of the Roman people. Defending from whom? from an enemy of course ; for what other defence is worthy of praise? [9] Next, the province of Gaul is commended and justly honoured by the Senate in the most generous terms for resisting Antonius. If that province deemed him a consul, and yet would not receive him, it would involve itself in a great crime; for all provinces ought to be within the jurisdiction and command of the consul. This consulship Decimus Brutus, commander, consul elect, a citizen born to serve the State, denies; Gaul denies it; all Italy denies it; the Senate denies it; you deny it. Who then deem him a consul but brigands? Not that even these very men think as they say; though disloyal and criminal, as they are, yet they cannot dissent from the judgment of all living men. But hope of rapine and plunder blind the minds of men whom no gift of property, no assignments of lands, nor that never-ending auction ** has sated; men that have set before themselves for plunder the city and the goods and fortunes of its citizens; men that think nothing will fail them provided there be here some subject for rapine, for robbery; [10] men to whom - O immortal Gods, avert, I pray, and make harmless this omen ! - Marcus Antonius has promised the division of the city.

Yes, Romans, may the issue be according to your prayers, and may the penalty for this man's madness recoil on himself and on his family! I am confident it will, for I think that, not men only, but also the immortal Gods, have agreed together for the preservation of the State. For whether the immortal Gods foretell for us the future by prodigies and portents, these have been declared so openly that both his punishment and our freedom are coming near; or whether such unanimity of all men could not be without the impulse of the Gods, what room have we for doubt as to the will of Heaven?

[5.] L   [11] It remains for you, Romans, to persevere in the sentiments which you openly display. I shall therefore act as commanders commonly act when the line is in battle array; although they may see their soldiers absolutely prepared for battle, they yet exhort them; so will I exhort you, though you are ardent and eager to recover your liberty. You have, Romans, no contest with an enemy with whom any terms of peace are possible. For it is not, as formerly, for your enslavement, it is for your blood he has in his wrath now become athirst; no sport seems to him more joyful than bloodshed, than massacre, than the butchery of citizens before his eyes. [12] You have not now to deal, Romans, with a man merely guilty and villainous, but with a monstrous and savage beast. Since he has fallen into the pit let him be overwhelmed ; for, if he escape out of it, there is no torture, however cruel, we shall be able to evade. But he is being held fast, pressed, harassed, now by the forces we already have; presently he will be so by those the new consuls will in a few days levy. Put your shoulders, Romans, to the cause as you are doing. Never has your unanimity been greater in any cause, never have you been so earnestly associated with the Senate. And no wonder; for the issue is, not on what terms we shall live: but whether we are to live at all, or perish in torture and ignominy.

[13] Nature has indeed appointed death for all men, yet against a death of cruelty and dishonour, valour, the native possession of the Roman race and lineage, ever affords a defence. Hold fast, I beseech you, to that which your ancestors have bequeathed you, as it were an heirloom. For while all things else are false and uncertain, perishable and shifting, valour alone is planted with the deepest roots ; by no force can it be shaken or removed from its place. By this valour your ancestors first conquered the whole of Italy, then razed Carthage, overthrew Numantia, and reduced to allegiance to this empire kings the most powerful, and nations the most warlike.

[6.] L   [14] And your ancestors, Romans, had to deal with an enemy that possessed a State, a Senate, a treasury, unanimity and concord among its citizens, some principle on which, if the occasion admitted, to found peace and a treaty; this enemy of yours is attacking your State while he himself possesses none; he longs to obliterate the Senate, that is to say, the council of the world, but he himself possesses no public council; he has drained your treasury, he has none of his own. As to "concord among citizens," how can he have it who has no citizenship? ** But as to peace, what reckoning can there be with a man whose cruelty is incredible, his good faith non-existent ?

[15] The conflict therefore, Romans, is wholly between the Roman people, the victor over all nations, and an assassin, a brigand, a Spartacus. ** For, as for his usual boast that he is like Catiline, he is equal to him in wickedness, but inferior in energy. The one, when he had no army, hurriedly collected one ; this other bas lost the army he received. As then by my exertions, by the authority of the Senate, and your own zeal and courage, you broke Catiline, so will you hear that the criminal brigandage of Antonius has been in a short time crushed by your unprecedented harmony with the Senate, and by the good fortune and valour of your armies and generals. [16] As for me, so far as by thought, labour, watching, influence, and advice I shall be able to strive for and effect anything, I will leave nothing undone that I think concerns your liberty; for having regard to your most generous kindnesses towards myself, it is impossible to do so without a crime. But to-day, on the motion of Marcus Servilius here, a most courageous man and your very good friend, and his colleagues, most distinguished men, and most loyal citizens, we have, for the first time after a long interval, with my counsel and at my instance, been fired by the hope of liberty.


1.   Here evidently followed applause. On resuming his speech, C. picks up 'laudibus' with 'laudo', and praises the people.

2.   Of the property of the Pompeian party.

3.   i.e. as being 'hostis.'

4.   Cf. note on Phil. iii. 21.

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