Cicero : Philippic 5

This speech was delivered against Marcus Antonius, in January 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   [1] Nothing, conscript fathers, has ever seemed to me longer in coming than these Kalends of January; and I understood that during these last days it has also seemed so to each one of you. For those who wage war against the State did not wait for to-day; but we, at a time when it especially behoved us to come to the rescue of the common safety with our counsel, were not summoned to the Senate. But any complaints as to the past have been removed by the speeches of the consuls, ** for they have spoken in such terms that the Kalends seem not so much to come late as in fulfilment of our prayers. And as the speeches of the consuls have raised my spirits, and brought hope, not merely of preserving our safety but also of restoring our ancient dignity, so the opinion of the member who first was called upon ** would have disturbed me were I not trusting to your courage and firmness.

[2] For this day has dawned upon you, conscript fathers, this opportunity has been given you, to enable you to declare to the Roman people what degree of courage, of firmness, of importance, resides in the counsels of this our order. Recall to mind what a day that was thirteen days ago, how great was your unanimity, your courage, your firmness, how much praise you won from the Roman people, how much glory and gratitude. And on that day, conscript fathers, your resolutions were such that you now have no course open to you but either an honourable peace or a necessary war.

[3] Does Marcus Antonius desire peace? Let him lay down his arms; let him ask for peace; let him appeal to our mercy. He will find no man fairer than I, though he preferred, while commending himself to disloyal citizens, to be my enemy rather than my friend. Nothing at all can be granted to a combatant; possibly there will be something to be conceded to a petitioner; but to send envoys to a man on whom thirteen days ago you passed the heaviest and severest judgment is not now a sign of levity, but - if I must give my real opinion - one of madness.

[2.] L   First of all you praised those commanders who had on their own private judgment undertaken war against him; in the next place the veteran soldiers, who, although they had been planted by Antonius in colonies, set the liberty of the Roman people before his benefits. [4] What of the Martian legion? What of the fourth? Why is it praised? For if it was their consul they deserted they are to be blamed ; if an enemy of the State, they are rightly praised. And yet, although you had as yet no consuls, ** you decreed that a motion should be submitted at the earliest moment for rewarding the soldiers and honouring their generals. Is it your pleasure at the same time to appoint rewards for those that have taken up arms against Antonius, and also to send envoys to Antonius? so that now one must feel shame that the resolutions of the legions are more honourable than the Senate's, since the legions have resolved to defend the Senate against Antonius and the Senate resolves to send envoys to Antonius!

Is this a bracing of the soldiers' spirits or a weakening of their courage? [5] Has this been the result of twelve days, that the man for whom no defender was discovered but Cotyla ** has now as patrons even consulars? I wish all of them were asked their opinions before me, though I suspect what some of them called upon after me will say - I should more easily say in opposition whatever seemed appropriate. For there is a belief abroad that some one will propose to decree Antonius that further Gaul which Plancus holds. What is this but to lavish on an enemy all the weapons for civil war? first of all, the sinews of war, infinite treasure, which he now needs; in the next place, cavalry, as many as he wishes. Cavalry, do I say? He will shrink, I suppose, from bringing with him whole barbarous nations! He that does not see this is a fool; he that sees it, and proposes it, is disloyal. [6] Will you equip a criminal and abandoned citizen with the treasure, the infantry, the cavalry, all the resources of Gauls and Germans? Your excuses ** are no use: "He is my friend"; let him be his country's first; "He is my relation" ; can any relationship be closer than with that fatherland wherein even parents are included? "He has given me money." I long to see the man who dares to say that! But when I have revealed what is the issue, it will be easy for you to determine what opinion to pronounce or which to follow.

[3.] L   The issue is whether Marcus Antonius is to be given an opportunity of crushing the State, of massacring loyal men, of portioning out the city, of making presents of land to his brigands, and of crushing the Roman people with slavery, or whether he is to be allowed to do none of these things. You hesitate what to do. But these things, you will say, do not apply to Antonius. [7] This not even Cotyla would dare to say. For what does not apply to the man who, while he says he is defending the acts of Caesar, overturns those of his laws which we were able especially to commend? Caesar wished to drain the marshes; this man has given that moderate person, Lucius Antonius, the whole of Italy for division, What? has the Roman people accepted this law? What? could it be proposed in the face of the auspices? Our augur is too bashful to interpret the auspices without his colleagues. And yet those auspices need no interpretation ; for who does not know that, when Jupiter is thundering, no transaction with the people can legally be carried out? ** The tribunes made a proposal to the commons on the subject of the provinces contrary to the acts of Caius Caesar; Caesar fixed a two years' tenure, they six. Did the Roman people accept this law too? Again, was notice given of it? Again, was it not proposed before it was drafted? Again, did we not see the thing done before anyone suspected it would be so? [8] Where is the Caecilian and Didian law? where the notice on three market days? where is the penalty according to the recent Junian and Licinian law? ** Can these laws of yours be in force without the destruction of all other laws? Was any man able to steal into the forum? And what a thunderstorm there was besides! what a tempest! so that, if the auspices did not influence Antonius, it seemed wonderful he could put up with and endure such violence of storm, rain, and tornado. When, therefore, the augur says he proposed this law, not only while Jupiter was thundering, but almost in the face of the uproar of Heavenly prohibition, will he hesitate to confess it was proposed in defiance of the auspices? [9] Again, did our good augur think it was no concern of the auspices that he proposed the law jointly with a colleague ** whose appointment he himself had rendered defective by his report?

[4.] L   But of the auspices we shall possibly be interpreters, who are his colleagues. Are we on that account also to search for interpreters of his arms? Firstly, all the approaches of the forum were so barred up that, even if no man-at-arms stopped the way, there was no getting anyhow into the forum except by pulling down the barriers; in fact the guards were so placed that - as an enemy's entry into a city is prevented by forts and works - so you might observe the people and the tribunes of the plebs thrust back from entering the forum. [10] For these reasons I am of opinion that those laws which Antonius is said to have carried were all carried by violence and contrary to the auspices, and that by those laws the people is not bound. If Marcus Antonius is said to have carried any law for the confirmation of Caesar's acts, or for the perpetual abolition of the dictatorship, or for founding colonies on lands, the Senate is pleased that those same laws should be carried afresh subject to the auspices, so as to bind the people, for, although he carried irregularly and by violence good laws, yet they should not be regarded as laws, and all the audacity of a frenzied gladiator must be repudiated by our authority.

[11] But that squandering of public money is by no means to be borne whereby he embezzled seven hundred million sesterces by means of false entries and by donations, so that it seems like a miracle that so much treasure of the Roman people could in so short a time have disappeared. Again, are those monstrous profits to be put up with which the whole household of Marcus Antonius has swallowed? He sold forged decrees, and for a bribe commanded that grants of kingdoms, states, and immunities from taxation should be inscribed on brass. These things he asserted he was doing according to the notebooks of Caius Caesar, of which he was himself the author. There was a lively traffic in every interest of the State in the inner part of the house; his wife, more lucky for herself than for her husbands, ** was putting up to auction provinces and kingdoms; exiles were being restored in guise of law but with out law; and if these things are not rescinded by the authority of the Senate, now we have entered upon the hope of re-establishing the State, no semblance of a free community will be left to us.

[12] And not by falsified note-books alone, and by the sale of memoranda, has a countless sum of money been accumulated in that house, since Antonius asserted that in his sales he was acting according to Caesar's "acts" ; but he even recorded for a bribe forged decrees of the Senate; contracts were being sealed; decrees of the Senate never made were entered at the Treasury. Of this villainy even foreign nations were witness. Treaties were in the meantime made ; kingdoms were bestowed ; peoples and provinces freed from tribute; and of these very things false memorials were posted all over the Capitol amid the groans of the Roman people. By these means such an amount of money was heaped up in a single house that, if this sort ** of money were brought into the Treasury, the State would never lack money.

[5.] L   He also proposed a judicature law, this chaste and upright fellow and supporter of the courts and of the law. In this he deceived us. He said he had appointed as jurymen colour-sergeants, and privates, and soldiers of The Larks; ** but he has appointed gamblers, appointed exiles, appointed Greeks. What an eminent bench of jurymen! what a wonderfully dignified court! [13] My heart yearns to plead for a defendant in that court! There is Cydas from Crete, the island's prodigy, a most audacious and abandoned fellow. But assume he is not so: does he know Latin? is he of the type and fashion of our jurymen? what is most important, does he know our laws or customs? in short, does he know our men? for Crete is better known to you than Rome to Cydas; and even among our own citizens some selection and enquiry as to jurymen is usually made ; but who knows, or could know, a juryman from Gortyna? Now Lysiades of Athens most of us know ; for he is the son of Phaedrus, a noted philosopher; he is besides a cheerful man, so that he can very easily concur with Curius, his assessor and fellow-gambler. [14] I ask then, if Lysiades, when summoned as juryman, does not answer to his name, and excuses himself as being a member of the Areopagus, and not bound to act as juryman at the same time at Rome and at Athens, will the president of the Court accept the excuse of a Greekling juryman, wearing now a Greek pallium and now a toga? or will he disregard the most ancient laws of the Athenians? Moreover, what a bench - Good Heavens! a Cretan juryman, and he the worst of Cretans! How is a defendant to choose counsel to address this man? how is he to approach him? It is a hard nation. Oh, but the Athenians are merciful ! I think that not even Curius, who every day risks his fortune, is cruel. There are also jurymen chosen who perhaps will be excused; for they have the lawful excuse that they changed their domicile because of exile, and have not since been recalled. [15] Are these the jurymen that madman would have chosen, and entered their names at the Treasury ; these the men to whom he would have entrusted a great portion of the State if he had thought that any semblance of the State remained?

[6.] L   And I have spoken of jurymen that are known; I was unwilling to mention those you know less; dancers, harp-players, in a word the whole gang of the Antonian revel, you must know, have been pitchforked into the third panel of jurymen. Here you have the reason why a law so excellent and so splendid was proposed in the midst of a downpour of rain, in a tempest of wind, storm, and tornadoes, amid lightning and thunder: it was that we should have men as jurymen whom no one would willingly have as guests. It was the greatness of his crimes, his consciousness of ill deeds, the plunder of that money the account of which was kept in the Temple of Ops, that has invented this third panel ; base jurymen were not sought for till the exculpation of the guilty at the hands of honest jurymen was despaired of. [16] But to think of the impudence, the foul scandal of his daring to choose these men as jurymen, men by whose selection a double disgrace was branded on the State; one, that such base men were jurymen; the other, that it was revealed and became known how many base scoundrels we had in the community.

This law, then, and the remaining laws of that stamp, even if they had been passed without violence and subject to the auspices, I should vote should be repealed; but, as the case stands, why should I vote for the repeal of laws which I decide were not passed at all?

[17] As a memorial too for posterity, must we not stamp with a record of the deepest ignominy this order can inflict the fact that Marcus Antonius alone in this city since the founding of the city had openly with him an armed guard ; a thing neither our kings ever did, nor those that after the expulsion of the kings sought to seize kingly power? I remember Cinna; I have seen Sulla, and but lately Caesar; for these three possessed more power since the community was made free by Lucius Brutus ** than the whole State. I cannot affirm they were surrounded by no weapons: this I assert - those weapons were not many, and were concealed. [18] But an array of men-at-arms used to attend this pest; Cassius, Mustela, Tiro, displaying their swords, led through the forum gangs like themselves; barbarian archers marched in regular column. And when they reached the Temple of Concord the steps were packed, the litters were set down; not that he wished the shields should be hidden; but that his friends should not be fatigued by carrying them themselves.

[7.] L   And the most infamous thing of all, not only to see, but even to hear of, is that armed men, brigands, assassins, were stationed in the shrine of Concord; the temple became a prison; when the doors of Concord were closed conscript fathers gave their votes while brigands were moving about amid the benches. [19] And if I did not come here on the Kalends of September, he even said he would send workmen, and would break my house up. An important debate was toward, I suppose; he moved for a public thanksgiving. I came the day after: he himself did not come. I spoke ** on the condition of the State, no doubt less freely than my wont, but more freely than his threats of danger warranted. But he, with a vehemence and violence meant to preclude our present habit of free speech - a freedom Lucius Piso had used with the utmost credit thirty days before - threatened me with his enmity, and bade me attend in the Senate on the nineteenth of September. He himself in the meantime for seventeen days declaimed a good deal against me in Scipio's villa at Tibur to provoke a thirst; for this is his usual reason for declamation. [20] When the day on which he had ordered me to attend had arrived, he then came in battle-array into the Temple of Concord, and in my absence vomited a speech against me from that foulest of mouths. On that day, if my friends had allowed me to come to the Senate, as I wished, he would have begun his massacre with me; for so he had resolved. And, if he had once fleshed his sword in crime, nothing would have made an end of his slaughtering but weariness and satiety; for his brother Lucius was present, that Asiatic gladiator, who had fought at Mylasa as a murmillo; ** he was thirsting for our blood ; much of his own he had poured forth in that gladiatorial encounter. This man was estimating your property; he was making a note of possessions, both urban and rural ; this man's beggary, joined with greed, was threatening our fortunes ; he was dividing up lands, to whom and where he pleased; there were no means of access to him for a private citizen, no plea for equity was possible; so much only each owner possessed as Antonius had left him in the division. [21] Although these things cannot stand if you make void his laws, yet I think they should be individually and specifically noticed, and that we should decide that the septemvirate ** is null and void, and that it is your pleasure that nothing should stand that was said to have been done by those men.

[8.] L   But as to Marcus Antonius, who can consider him a citizen, rather than a most savage and cruel enemy, when he, while sitting in front of the Temple of Castor, in the hearing of the Roman people, said that, except of the victors, no man should be left alive ? Do you think, conscript fathers, that his words were more threatening than would have been his deeds? But what of the fact that he dared to say at a public meeting that, when he had laid down his office, he would be present close to the city with an army, and would enter it as often as he pleased? ** What did this mean but a threat to the Roman people of slavery? [22] And what meant his journey to Brundisium, that haste of his? what was his hope if he did not bring to, or rather into, the city a huge army? And what a gathering was that of the centurions ! what an unbridled, unconquerable temper! When the legions had with great bravery repudiated his promises with shouts, he ordered those centurions to attend at his house whom he had recognised were well affected to the State, and caused them to be murdered before his feet, and those of his wife whom the august general had brought with him to the army. What do you think would have been his temper towards us whom he hated, when toward those he had never seen he had been so cruel? and what would be his greediness for the money of rich men, when he coveted the blood of the poor; whose goods, such as they were, he at once distributed amongst his fellows and boon companions?

[23] And that madman was already advancing from Brundisium hostile standards against his country when Caius Caesar, by the favour of the immortal Gods, with a heaven-given greatness of spirit, of intellect, and of judgment, of his own accord no doubt and by his own rare virtue, yet with the warranty of my authority, entered the colonies founded by his father, called together the veteran soldiers, in a few days founded an army, and stayed the headlong rush of the brigand. And after the Martian legion saw this most excellent commander, it had no other object than that we should at length be free ; and the fourth followed its example.

[9.] L   When he had heard the news, although he had summoned the Senate, and put up a consular to declare his opinion that Caius Caesar ** was a public enemy, he suddenly succumbed. [24] But afterwards, without making the accustomed sacrifices, with no solemn vows, ** he did not set out, he fled away in his general's cloak. ** But whither? Into a province inhabited by most steadfast and brave citizens, who could not have borne with him even if he had not come with the intention of waging war, ungovernable as he was, passionate, insulting, arrogant, always grasping, always pillaging, always drunk. But he, whose iniquity even in peace no man could bear, has made war on the province of Gaul ; he is besieging Mutina, a most steadfast and splendid colony of the Roman people; he is attacking Decimus Brutus, a general, a consul elect, a citizen born to serve, not himself, but us and the State. [25] Is Hannibal then an enemy, Antonius a citizen? - What did he do as an enemy that this man has not either done, or is doing, or striving for and designing? The whole journey of the Antoniuses - what did it consist of but depopulation, devastation, massacre, rapine? Hannibal was not guilty of these: he kept much for his own use ; but these men, who lived only for the hour, have not given a thought, I do not say to the fortunes and the goods of citizens, but even to their own advantage.

Is it to this man, good Heavens! we are pleased to send envoys? Do those friends of yours ** know the constitution of the State, the laws of war, the precedents of our ancestors? do they consider what the majesty of the Roman people, the gravity of the Senate calls for? Do you propose an embassy? If it is to plead to him, he will despise you : if to command him, he will not listen; in a word, however stern the mandates we give the envoys, the very name of envoys will quench this ardour we now perceive in the Roman people, and will break the spirit of the boroughs and of Italy. To pass over these considerations, which are grave, assuredly that embassy will bring delay and a prolongation of the war. [26] However much they say, as I hear certain persons will say: "Let the envoys start; none the less the war may be prepared for," yet the very name of envoys will damp both the spirits of men, and the swift conduct of the war.

[10.] L   By the most trivial impulses, conscript fathers, in critical times the scale is turned most completely, not only in all the accidents of public affairs, but principally in war, and most of all in civil war, which as a rule is governed by opinion and rumour. No one will ask with what mandates we sent envoys: the very name of embassy, and that one sent unsolicited, will seem a token of fear. Let him retreat from Mutina, let him cease to attack Brutus, let him depart out of Gaul : he should not be requested by words, he should be compelled by arms. [27] For we are not sending to Hannibal to command him to retreat from Saguntum, as the Senate sent to him in old times Publius Valerius Flaccus and Quintus Baebius Tampilus (who were ordered, if Hannibal did not obey, to proceed to Carthage - where shall we order our ambassadors to go if Antonius does not obey ?) : we are sending to our fellow-citizen to bid him not to attack a general and a colony of the Roman people. Is that in truth so? is this what we must ask through envoys? What difference is there, ye immortal Gods! whether he is attacking this city or an outer bastion of this city, a colony planted for the protection of the Roman people? The cause of the second Punic war which Hannibal waged against our ancestors was the blockade of Saguntum. Rightly were ambassadors sent to him ; they were sent to a Carthaginian, they were sent in defence of Hannibal's enemies, our allies. What analogy is there, pray? Are we sending to a fellow-citizen to bid him cease from besieging, from attacking a general, an army, a colony of the Roman people, from wasting its territory, from being our enemy?

[11.] L   [28] Come, suppose he obeys: have we the wish or the power to treat him as a citizen? On the 20th of December ** by your decrees you cut him to pieces; you resolved that this motion you see made to-day should be made on the Kalends of January, concerning the rewards to be paid to those that have deserved, and to-day deserve, well of the State, of whom you adjudged him the foremost who was indeed so - Caius Caesar, who diverted the nefarious attacks of Marcus Antonius from the city into Gaul. In the next place you commended the veteran soldiers who had been the first to follow Caesar, and especially those Heaven-sent and God-inspired legions, the Martian and the Fourth, to whom, because they had, not merely deserted their consul, but were even attacking him in war, you promised honours and rewards. And on the same day, when an edict of that most excellent citizen Decimus Brutus had been brought and set before you, you praised what he had done; and the war he had undertaken on his private judgment you approved with your public authority. What other object then had you on that day but to adjudge Antonius a public enemy? [29] After these your decrees ** will either he be able to look you in the face with equanimity, or you to see him without the greatest indignation? He has been shut out, dragged, dissociated from the State, not only by his own crime, but also, as it seems to me, by some good fortune of the State.

If he shall obey the ambassadors and return to Rome, do you think reprobate citizens will ever lack a standard they can rally to? But this I fear less: there are other things I dread and consider more. He will never obey the envoys. I know the fellow's madness and arrogance; I know the profligate counsels of the friends to whom he is devoted. [30] Lucius his brother, as being one that fought abroad, heads the gang. Grant that Antonius is himself sane - and he never will be - yet these men will not allow him to be so. Time in the meantime will be wasted; the preparations for war will cool. How has the war so far been protracted but by slowness and delay? From the first moment after the brigand's defection, or rather desperate flight, when a free Senate could be held, I have always demanded we should be called together. On the day we were first assembled, ** as the consuls elect were not present, I by my opinion, and with the fullest assent on your part, laid the foundations of the State, altogether later than should have been - I could not do so before - but if from that time no day had been lost we should now be having no war at all. [31] Every evil is easily crushed at its birth; become inveterate, it as a rule gathers strength. But then the Kalends of January were being waited for: perhaps not wisely.

[12.] L   But let us leave out the past. Shall we add this delay too till the envoys set out? till they return? Waiting for them will bring doubt regarding the war; and if war be doubtful, what zeal can there be in a levy?

Wherefore, conscript fathers, I propose that no mention should be made of envoys; I think the matter should be attended to without any delay, and I propose it should be carried out at once; I say that a state of tumult ** should be declared, a vacation of the Courts proclaimed, military garb assumed, a levy held, all exemptions from service being suspended in the city and in the whole of Italy excepting Gaul. [32] If these measures shall be taken, the very belief and report of our stern action will overwhelm the madness of an accursed gladiator, He will feel that he has begun a war against the State; he will experience the energy and the strength of a Senate with one mind; for now he constantly says there is but a quarrel between parties. What parties? One side is conquered, the other is in the midst of Caius Caesar's party ** - unless perhaps we think that Caesar's party is being attacked by the consuls Hirtius and Pansa and by Caius Caesar's son ! But this war has not been stirred up out of the strife of parties, but out of the nefarious hopes of most profligate citizens, for whom our goods and fortunes have been marked down and already distributed according to each man's notions.

[33] I have read a letter of Antonius, which he had written to a certain septemvir, ** a jail-bird, and his colleague: "Look and decide what you covet: whatever you covet you shall certainly have." Here is the man to whom we are to send envoys, against whom we are to delay war, a man who has not even committed our fortunes to a lottery, but has assigned us to every man's lust so thoroughly that he has not left even for himself a single thing intact without having already promised it to some one. With this man, conscript fathers, the issue must be decided by war, by war, I say, and that at once; we must dispense with halting envoys.

[34] Wherefore, to avoid the necessity of daily decrees, I propose that all the fortunes of the State should be entrusted to the consuls, and that they be charged to defend the State, and see to it that the State receive no damage ; ** and I propose that those in the army of Marcus Antonius be not prejudiced if they leave him before the Kalends of February. If you adopt these proposals, conscript fathers, you will in a short time recover the liberty of the Roman people and your own authority. But if you act more mildly, you will none the less issue the same decrees, but perhaps too late. So far as your ** motion concerned the State, I think what I have proposed is sufficient.

[13.] L   The second question concerns the honours, and is, I understand, the next subject for discussion. [35] In honouring brave men I will keep the order usually kept when opinions are solicited ; ** let us therefore, by immemorial custom begin with Brutus the consul elect.

To pass over his former services, which are indeed very great, but so far approved rather by the general judgment than by any public tribute, in what terms can we express our commendation of his services at this time? For there is no reward which such eminent merit looks for save this one of praise and fame; even if it were to lack that, still would it be content with its consciousness of itself, and yet it would rejoice to stand in the memory of grateful citizens, as in the light of day. Such praise, therefore, as our judgment and our testimony to his worth can bestow should be awarded to Brutus. [36] Wherefore, conscript fathers, I propose a Senatorial decree in these terms:

"Whereas Decimus Brutus, general, consul elect, is keeping the Province of Gaul in allegiance to the Senate and Roman people ; and whereas he has, in so short a time, amid the utmost zeal of the municipia and colonies of the Province of Gaul, a province that has deserved and deserves well of the State, levied and collected so great an army, that he has done so rightly and in order, and in the interests of the State, and such pre-eminent service to the State is, and will be, grateful to the Senate and Roman people. Accordingly that the Senate and Roman people are of opinion that by the help, prudence, and valour of Decimus Brutus, general, consul elect, and by the marvellous zeal and unanimity of the Province of Gaul, the State has been assisted at a most difficult crisis."

[37] For such a service as this by 17 Brutus, conscript fathers, and such a benefit towards the State, what honour is too great to be due? For if Gaul had lain open to Marcus Antonius; if when he had crushed the municipia and unprepared colonies he had been able to penetrate into Further Gaul, what a panic would now be impending over the State! He would hesitate, I suppose, this chief of madmen, headlong and erratic in all his judgments, to bring war on us, not only with his army, but also with all the savagery of barbarism, so that we could not check his frenzy even by the barrier of the Alps. This gratitude then is due to Decimus Brutus, who, without waiting for your authority, but by his own decision and judgment, refused to receive that man as a consul, but kept him out of Gaul, as being an enemy, and chose rather to be besieged himself than to see this city besieged. Let him therefore receive by our decree an everlasting testimonial to this deed so great and so noble; and let Gaul, which always protects and has protected this empire, and the liberty of all, be in justice and truth commended for not having surrendered, but for having opposed, to Antonius itself and its strength.

[14.] L   [38] And to Marcus Lepidus too, in return for his eminent services to the State, I propose the most generous honours should be decreed. He has always wished the Roman people to be free, and he gave the greatest proof of his inclination and opinion on the day when, while Antonius was setting a diadem on Caesar's head, he turned away, and by his groans and sadness showed how great was his hatred of slavery ; how he longed that the Roman people should be free, and how it was from the necessity of the times rather than from choice he had borne what he had borne. And who of us can forget how great was his moderation in the crisis of the State that followed Caesar's death? ** These are great merits, but I hasten to speak of greater. [39] For what, O immortal Gods! could have happened more admirable in the eyes of all nations, what more welcome to the Roman people, than that, when the civil war, ** whose issue we all were dreading, was at its height, it should be extinguished by wisdom and clemency instead of bringing matters to an issue by arms and the sword? But if Caesar's policy had been the same in that savage and miserable war, then - to say nothing of the father - the two sons of that most eminent and remarkable man, Cnaeus Pompeius, we should have unharmed among us - for their filial piety ought certainly not to have prejudiced them. Would that Marcus Lepidus had been able to save all! that he would have done so he showed where he had the power, when he restored Sextus Pompeius to his fellow citizens, to be the greatest ornament to the State, the most illustrious memorial of his own clemency. Heavy was that misfortune, heavy the lot of the Roman people! For in Pompeius the father the very light of the empire of the Roman people was extinct, and then a son most like his father was slain. ** [40] But all things were, as it seems to me, atoned for by the decision of the immortal Gods when Sextus Pompeius was preserved for the State.

[15.] L   For this reason, a just and important one, and because Marcus Lepidus by his humanity and wisdom has changed a most dangerous and mighty civil war to peace and concord, I propose that a Senatorial decree should be registered in these terms:

"Whereas the State has been often well and prosperously administered by Marcus Lepidus, general, and pontifex maximus, and the Roman people has understood that kingly power is especially repugnant to him ; and whereas by his help, valour, prudence, and singular clemency and mildness, a most bitter civil war has been extinguished, [41] and Sextus Pompeius Magnus, the son of Cnaeus, has, obediently to the authority of this order, laid down his arms, and has been restored to his fellow citizens by Marcus Lepidus, general and pontifex maximus, with the utmost good-will of the Senate and Roman people, be it decreed that, in regard of the eminent and numerous services to the State of Marcus Lepidus, the Senate and the Roman people repose in his valour, influence, and good fortune a great hope of ease, peace, concord, and liberty, and that of his services to the State the Senate and Roman people will be mindful, and that it is by its decree the pleasure of this order that a gilt equestrian statue to him should be erected on the rostra, or in any other place in the forum he may wish."

This honour, conscript fathers, seems to me to be very great, first because it is just, for it is not only given for expectations of the future, but is paid for the most ample services rendered ; and we cannot recall that this honour has been bestowed on anyone by the Senate by the Senate's free and unfettered judgment.

[16.] L   [42] I come to Caius Caesar, conscript fathers; and if he had not lived, who of us could have been alive now? There was flying to the city from Brundisium a man of most ungovernable temper, burning with hatred, with a mind hostile to all loyal men, a man with an army - in short, Antonius. What could have been opposed to this man's audacity and iniquity? As yet we had no commanders, no forces; there was no council of State, no liberty ; our necks were at the mercy of his lawless cruelty ; we were all looking to flight, and flight itself afforded no escape. [43] What God at that time presented to us, to the Roman people, this Heaven-sent young man, who, when every avenue to our destruction lay open for that pestilent citizen, suddenly, beyond the hope of all, arose and got together an army to oppose to the frenzy of Marcus Antonius before anyone suspected any such intention of his? Great honours were paid to Cnaeus Pompeius though he was a young man, and indeed rightly; for he came to the assistance of the State, but at a much more robust age, and better equipped because of the zeal of soldiers looking for a commander, and in a war of a different kind; for the cause of Sulla was not grateful to all; the multitude of those proscribed, and the very serious calamities of so many boroughs show this. [44] But Caesar, though many years younger, has armed veterans now desirous of rest; he has embraced the cause that would be most grateful to the Senate, to the people, to all Italy, and to Gods and men. And Pompeius attached himself to the very ample command and victorious army of Lucius Sulla; Caesar has not joined anyone; he himself has been the first to raise an army, and to initiate defence. Pompeius held the territory of Picenum which was hostile to the adversaries' party ; Caesar, from those who were the friends of Antonius, but were more friendly to liberty, has made an army to oppose Antonius. By the help of Pompeius Sulla reigned; by Caesar's protection the tyranny of Antonius has been crushed.

[45] Let us therefore give Caesar the command, without which no military affairs can be administered, no army held together, no war waged; let him be pro-praetor with the fullest power of a regular appointment. That honour is a great one at his age, but it serves to assist the measures necessary to be taken, not merely to enhance his dignity. Therefore let us ask for that, which is as much as we shall gain to-day.

[17.] L   But I do hope that both we and the Roman people shall often be enabled to distinguish and honour this young man. However, at this time I propose that the following should be our decree:

[46] "Whereas Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, pontifex, pro-praetor, at a serious crisis of the State has exhorted the veteran soldiers to defend the liberty of the Roman people, and has enrolled them; and whereas the Martian legion and the Fourth, with the utmost zeal, and the most admirable unanimity in serving the State, under the command and authority of Caius Caesar, are defending, and have defended, the State and the liberty of the Roman people; and whereas Caius Caesar, pro-praetor, has with an army set out for the relief of the province of Gaul, has brought within his own obedience and that of the Roman people cavalry, archers, and elephants, and has, at a most difficult crisis of the State, come to the assistance of the lives and dignity of the Roman people - therefore for these reasons it is the pleasure of the Senate that Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, pontifex, pro-praetor, be a senator, and express his opinion on the praetorian benches; and that, whatever be the office he shall seek, the same account be taken of his candidature as would be legally permitted if he had been quaestor the preceding year."

[47] For what reason is there, conscript fathers, why we should not wish him to attain as soon as possible the fullest honours? For when by the Offices-Qualification laws ** men appointed a later age for the consulship they feared the rashness of youth; Caius Caesar has, in opening manhood, shown that excellent and remarkable merit should not wait for the advance of age. Accordingly our ancestors, those old ancestors of a long past age, had no Offices-Qualification laws: it was the rivalry of candidates that many years afterwards introduced these laws that the successive candidatures might be between men of the same age. And thus a great endowment of virtue was often lost before it could be of service to the State. [48] But among the ancients the Rulli, the Decii, the Corvini, and many others, and within more recent memory the elder Africanus and Titus Flamininus were made consuls when very young, and achieved things so great that they extended the empire of the Roman people and made its name illustrious. Again, did not Alexander of Macedon, when he had begun the greatest exploits in opening manhood, die in his three-and-thirtieth year, an age by our laws ten years younger than a consular age? From this it can be concluded that manly spirit advances on a swifter course than that of age.

[18.] L   For as to the pretended fears of those who envy Caesar, there is no reason to apprehend that he may be unable to hold himself in check or show moderation, that, elated by our honours, he may employ his powers intemperately. [49] It is natural, conscript fathers, that one who has grasped the meaning of true glory, one who feels he is regarded by the Senate, by the Roman knights, and by the entire Roman people as a loved citizen and the salvation of the State, should deem nothing comparable with this glory. Would it had been the fortune of Caius Caesar - the father I mean - when a young man to be very dear to the Senate and every loyal citizen! Because he neglected to secure this, he wasted all the power of his intellect - and in him it was of the highest - in pandering to popular humours. Thus, having no regard to the Senate and to good men, he opened for himself that path to the extension of his power which the manly spirit of a free people could not endure.

But the method of his son is the very opposite: he is very dear to all, and especially to every loyal man. On him our hope of liberty rests; from him our safety has been already recovered; for him the highest honours are being sought out and are ready. [50] When therefore we admire his singular prudence, do we fear his folly? For what is more foolish than to prefer unprofitable power, invidious wealth, the lust for despotism, rash and hazardous as it is, to stable and solid glory? Has he seen this as a boy, and, if he advance in age, will he not see it? " But he is hostile to some most illustrious and loyal citizens." That should cause no fear: Caesar has made the State a gift of his personal enmities ; he has appointed her his judge, the controller of all his plans and actions; for he has entered the service of the State only to strengthen, not to overturn her. I have within my knowledge all the feelings of the young man. Nothing is dearer to him than the State, nothing more important than your authority, nothing more desirable than the opinion of good men, nothing sweeter than genuine glory. [51] Wherefore, so far from fearing anything from him, you should rather expect greater and better things, and not fear, in a man who has set forth to free Decimus Brutus from a blockade, that the memory of domestic grief ** should be so abiding as to prevail with him over the safety of the State. I shall even venture to pledge my word, conscript fathers, to you and to the Roman people, and to the State - a venture I should assuredly not undertake were there no compelling constraint upon me, and should shrink in so supreme a matter from the perilous reputation of temerity. I promise, [I undertake, I solemnly engage, conscript fathers, that Caius Caesar will always be such a citizen as he is to-day, and as we should especially wish and pray he should be. **

[19.] L   [52] In the circumstances I shall regard what I have said of Caius Caesar as sufficient at present. But concerning Lucius Egnatuleius, a most brave and steadfast citizen, and one most well-affected towards the State, I think we should not be silent; but should bear our testimony to his eminent virtue in bringing over to Caesar the fourth legion to be a protection to the consuls, the Senate, and the Roman people, and the State. On that account I move that it be our pleasure that Lucius Egnatuleius may be allowed to seek, to hold, and to administer offices three years before the legitimate time. In this motion is bestowed on Lucius Egnatuleius not advantage so much as honour; for in such a matter it is sufficient to be named,

[53] And concerning the army of Caius Caesar, I propose our decree should be:

"It is the pleasure of the Senate that the veteran soldiers who, attaching themselves to the leadership of Caesar, pontifex, pro-praetor, have defended and are defending the liberty of the Roman people and the authority of this our order, together with their children, have exemption from service; and that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, one or both of them, if it seem good to them, enquire what land there is in those colonies in which the veteran soldiers have been settled, which is held in violation of the Julian law, ** with a view to its division amongst the veteran soldiers: and concerning the Campanian land, that they make separate enquiry, and devise a method of increasing the benefits of the veteran soldiers; and with regard to the Martian and fourth legion, and to those soldiers of the second and thirty-fifth legions who joined the consuls Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, and gave in their names because the authority of the Senate and the liberty of the Roman people is and has been most dear to them, that it is the pleasure of the Senate that they and their children have exemption from service, saving a Gallic and Italian state of tumult; and that it is the Senate's pleasure that these legions at the end of the war be discharged ; and that it is its pleasure that whatever sum of money Caius Caesar, pontifex, pro-praetor, has promised individually to the soldiers of those legions, should be given them; and that C. Pansa and A. Hirtius, the consuls, either or both of them, if it seem good to them, make an estimate of the land that can, without private injury, be divided ; and that to those soldiers, that is, to the Martian and fourth legions, they give and assign lands in the fullest measure ever adopted in any gift and assignment to soldiers."


1.   A. Hirtius and C. Pansa, the consuls for 43 B.C.

2.   Quintus Fufius Calenus, consul 47 B.C., a partisan of Julius Caesar. He afterwards joined Antonius.

3.   Dolabella had gone to Asia Minor on his way to Syria, and Ant. to Cisalpine Gaul, and the consuls for 43 B.C. had not yet assumed their office.

4.   Lucius Varius, a friend and emissary of Antonius.   Cotyla appears to be a nickname taken from 'kotulē' (half-pint). He was an envoy of A. (Phil. viii. 8).

5.   By 'istae' ("those of yours") C. addresses Calenus and the other partisans of Ant.

6.   A thunderstorm during an election was a bad omen, and rendered the proceedings illegal.

7.   The Lex Caecilis Didia (98 B.C.) and the Lex Junia Licinia (62 B.C.) provided for the publication of all proposed laws on three market days.

8.   Dolabella: cf. Phil. ii. 33.

9.   Each of her two previous husbands, P. Clodius and C. Curio, came to a violent end.

10.   i.e. raised by the methods above described.

11.   As to these, cf. Phil. i. 19 with note.   C. goes on to show that A. has not only appointed jurymen who afford no guarantee of integrity, but also actual reprobates and foreigners. He proceeds to criticise them individually.

12.   Who expelled King Tarquin and founded the Republic.

13.   The first Philippic, delivered on the 2nd of Sept.

14.   A gladiator armed like a Gaul, with a helmet having a fish for a crest. He usually fought with a Thracian (so called), or with the net-caster (retiarius). See Phil. vi. 5.

15.   As to this, see Phil. vi. 14 and Phil. xi. 6. 13.

16.   It was illegal for a commander at the head of an army, unless he surrendered his imperium, or military jurisdiction, to enter Rome, except on the day of his triumph.

17.   Octavianus Caesar.

18.   Cf. note on Phil. iii. 11.

19.   Cf. note on Phil. iii. 24.

20.   C. here addresses Calenus.

21.   When the third Philippic was spoken.

22.   As set out in Phil. iii. 15.

23.   On the 20th Dec., the date of the third Philippic.

24.   A tumult was a sudden and dangerous war in or near Italy, and in Roman history specially meant an irruption of Cisalpine Gauls. See Cicero's explanation of the term in viii. 1. 1.

25.   C. seems to mean by the first 'alteri' the adherents of Ant. in the Senate, who were crushed by the decrees of Dec. 20 ; by the second 'alteri' the partisans of the dictator, whom A. might have expected to support him, but who were attacking him.

26.   As to the semptemvirate, see Phil. vi. 14.

27.   For the meaning of this see note on Phil. ii. 51.

28.   i.e. by the new consuls, Hirtius and Pansa, who had consulted the Senate on the general state of public affairs.

29.   i.e. when the consul called upon each senator for his opinion. The usual practice was to begin with the consuls elect.

30.   He had not joined in A.'s illegalities, but had withdrawn from Rome.

31.   With S. Pompeius in Spain.   Lep. effected a reconciliation, and was decreed a public thanksgiving (supplicatio). See below and Phil. iii. 9.

32.   Lep. could not save Pompeius' other son Cnaeus, who was slain when in flight after Caesar's victory at Munda in 45 B.C.   This "patris simillimus filius" Cassius describes to C. as "one who, as you know, regards cruelty as a virtue": ad Fam. xv. 19.

33.   The first and principal Lex Annalis was the Lex Villia of 180 B.C.   The age for the quaestorship (the lowest office) was 31.

34.   The death of his adoptive father, Julius Caesar. D. Brutus was one of the conspirators.

35.   C. in Epp. ad Brut. 1. 18 regrets this engagement "pro adulescente ac paene puero," and adds, "vix videbar quod promiseram praestare posse." But these letters are probably spurious.

36.   The agrarian law of J. Caesar in his consulship (59 B.C.). This was for the division among the Pompeian veterans and the poorer citizens of State lands in Campania, etc. These were the lands Ant. had divided "amongst his boon companions and fellow-gamblers"; Phil. ii. 39.

Attalus' home page   |   01.01.24   |   Any comments?