Cicero : Pro Sestio

Sections 1-74

This speech was delivered for P. Sestius, in 56 B.C.

The translation is by R. Gardner (1958). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section.

[1.] L   [1] If before this, gentlemen of the jury, anyone wondered what was the reason why, great as are the resources of our State and the prestige of our Empire, no sufficient number of brave and great-hearted men could be found who would dare to expose themselves and their very lives to danger for the stability of our constitution and for the general liberty, at this present time he should rather wonder if he finds any patriotic and courageous citizen, than if he finds anyone who is either faint-hearted or studies his own interest more than that of the State. There is no need to recall to your thoughts the fate of this or that individual; one comprehensive look will show you the plight of those who joined with the Senate and all good citizens in lifting up our afflicted State and freeing it from brigandage at home. You can see them in sorrow, in mourning, before judges, fighting for their rights, their good name, their citizenship, their fortunes, their children ; whereas those who have violated, injured, confounded and overturned everything human and divine, not only bustle about brisk and joyful, but also devise danger for the bravest and best of our citizens, while they have no fear for themselves.

[2] And in this, although there is much to call forth indignation, the most intolerable thing is that they no longer use their hired brigands, no longer men ruined by want and wickedness, but it is you, gentlemen, they employ to bring danger upon us - the best men to ruin the best citizens. And they flatter themselves that, by the aid of your authority, your conscience, your votes, they will be able to crush those whom they have been unable to annihilate by stones, by steel, by fire, by force, violence, and bands of brigands. But for myself, gentlemen, I thought that I should have found employment for my voice in returning thanks and commemorating the service done me by those who have earned my deepest gratitude ; since, however, I am compelled to use it in repelling the dangers that threaten them, may that voice then be of service to those above all others by whose exertions it has been restored to myself, and to you, and to the Roman People !

[2.] L   [3] And although that distinguished and eloquent man, Quintus Hortensius, has fully dealt with the case of Publius Sestius and has omitted nothing which was rightly put forward as a complaint in the interest of the State or argued in defence of the accused, nevertheless I shall venture to address you, for fear that my advocacy may seem to have failed that man above all others, thanks to whose efforts it has not failed the rest of our fellow-citizens. And, indeed, I am convinced, gentlemen, since I speak last and in such a cause, that I have undertaken a duty of gratitude rather than of defence, of complaint rather than of eloquence, of sorrow rather than of ability. [4] If, therefore, I express myself more passionately and with greater freedom than those who have spoken before me, I beg you will excuse everything in my speech that you think can be rendered excusable by dutiful sorrow and just indignation. For no sorrow can be more closely united to duty than this of mine, which has been caused by the peril of a man who has done me the greatest service ; nor does any indignation deserve greater praise than this of mine, which has been fired by the villainy of those who have decided to wage war against all the champions of my welfare. [5] But since other speakers have replied separately to the several charges, I propose to speak of the general position of Publius Sestius as a citizen, of his manner of life, of his character, of his habits, of his extraordinary affection for the loyal, of his zeal for the preservation of the general welfare and security ; and I shall do my utmost - if only I can succeed - to see, that, while making this comprehensive and general defence, I may seem to have overlooked nothing which is relevant to your investigation, to the accused, or to the public interest. And since it is due to Providence itself that Publius Sestius was tribune at a time of public crisis, when the State, afflicted and prostrate, was threatened with destruction, I will not approach those supremely important matters, until I have shown you the beginnings and the foundations on which he has built up so great a reputation in high office.

[3.] L   [6] Publius Sestius, gentlemen, was the son of a man, as most of you remember, who was wise, scrupulous, and strict ; who also, after being elected tribune of the commons, as the first in a most distinguished list at a very happy period, showed himself less desirous of enjoying other offices of state than of appearing worthy of them. With his father's consent, he married a daughter of Gaius Albinus, a most honourable and esteemed citizen, by whom he had a son whom you see here, and a daughter now married. He so won the approval of these two men of most dignified and old-fashioned manners, that he was especially dear and agreeable to both. By the death of his daughter Albinus lost the name of father-in-law, but did not lose the affection and goodwill arising from that close connexion. Even to-day you can easily judge of his fondness for Sestius either from his constant attendance in court, or his anxiety and distress. [7] While his father was still alive, Sestius married a second wife, a daughter of Lucius Scipio, an excellent and yet most unfortunate man. Publius Sestius showed remarkable affection for him, as all willingly acknowledged, by leaving at once for Massilia, that he might be able to see and comfort his father-in-law, a man who deserved to stand where his fathers had stood, but who languished an outcast in a foreign land, a victim of the storms of trouble at home. And he brought his daughter to him, in the hope that her unexpected appearance and embrace might cause him to forget some portion at least, if not all of his sorrow ; and by his marked and unceasing devotion he comforted him in his affliction till his death and his daughter in her bereavement. I can say much of his noble spirit, of his kindly services at home, of his military tribunate, of his incorruptibility in the discharge of that office. But it is the dignity of the State which confronts me, which seizes my attention, and urges me to pass over these less important matters.

[8] My client, gentlemen, was by lot the quaestor of Gaius Antonius, my colleague, but by his participation in my counsels he was mine. A certain regard for what is due to a colleague, as I interpret the matter, makes me scruple to set out how many matters Publius Sestius discovered, when he was with my colleague, how much he communicated to me, and what great foresight he displayed. And of Antonius himself I will say one word only : that never, in those days of exceeding fear and public peril, did he show any desire either to remove by disavowal or to allay by pretended ignorance either the general fear of all men or the particular suspicion entertained by some about himself. And if you did often praise me, very properly, for my efforts in checking and managing my colleague and my indulgent treatment of him, together with my utmost watchfulness over the public interest, equal praise almost is due to Publius Sestius, who was so careful of his consul that Antonius found in him a good quaestor, and all loyalists a most patriotic citizen.

[4.] L   [9] Also, after that conspiracy had burst out from its hiding-place in the dark, and was openly winging its way in arms, Sestius was sent with an army to Capua, since we suspected that that city might be made the object of a sudden attack by that villainous band of rascals owing to the many advantages of its military situation. He drove headlong out of Capua Gaius Mevulanus, Antonius' military tribune, a desperate man, who had openly taken part in that conspiracy at Pisaurum and in other parts of the Gallic territory. He also saw to it that Gaius Marcellus was expelled from Capua, since he had not only come there, but had joined a large band of gladiators under the pretext of exercising himself in the use of arms. For this reason not only did the community at Capua, who chose me as their only patron because their city's safety had been secured in my consulship, return most sincere thanks to this Publius Sestius at my house, but to-day also these same people, under their new name of colonists and decurions, these most gallant and excellent men, I say, publicly attest the services rendered them by Publius Sestius and by their decree plead against his being exposed to danger. [10] Read out, I beg you, Lucius Sestius, the resolutions of the decurions of Capua, that your boyish voice may now give a hint to the enemies of your family what it seems likely to accomplish when it shall have grown stronger.

{ The Resolutions of the Decurions are read out. }

This decree which I read out is not one that has been extorted from them by some bond of proximity, or clientship, or public guest-friendship, nor to promote their own interests, nor with the object of commending Sestius to his judges. I am reading out a record of danger undergone, a declaration of a most signal favour rendered, an expression of present gratitude, a testimony from a time that is past.

[11] And more still; at that very same period, after Sestius had delivered Capua from fear, and the Senate and all loyal citizens, after surprising and crushing foes within their gates, had under my leadership saved the city from extreme peril, I recalled Publius Sestius from Capua by letter together with that army which he had with him at the time. As soon as he had read my letter he hastened to Rome with amazing speed. And, in order that you may be able to recall the horror of that time, hear my letter, awake your memory and imagine the terror that is past.

{ The Letter of Cicero the Consul is read out. }

[5.] L   Thanks to the arrival of Publius Sestius, the new tribunes of the commons, who at the time, during the last days of my consulship, were eager to attack what I had accomplished, found their assaults and endeavours thwarted, as did the remnants of the conspirators. [12] And when it could be seen that, while Marcus Cato, tribune of the commons, a very courageous and patriotic citizen, was defending the State, the Senate and the Roman People, unaided and unprotected by soldiers, could easily by their sovereign sway uphold the position of those who had guarded the safety of the State at peril to themselves, Sestius hastened with his army in quest of Gaius Antonius. What need for me to set out here by what means a quaestor roused a consul to action, what incentives he brought to bear upon a man, who was eager perhaps to achieve a victory, but was much too afraid of the common fortune and chances of war? To tell all this would be a long story ; but I will say just this much. Had not Marcus Petreius shown pre-eminent spirit and devotion to the State, admirable courage in the public interest, great influence with the soldiers, and wonderful experience in military matters; yes, and had not Publius Sestius been there to help him in rousing, exhorting, reproving, and urging Antonius on, winter would have played its part in that war ; and, had Catiline once made his escape from those frost- and snow-bound Apennines, and, with a whole summer before him, had he begun to seize in advance the Italian sheep-walks and herdsmen's huts, he would never have been overthrown without much bloodshed and most terrible devastation throughout Italy. [13] Such then was the spirit that Publius Sestius brought to his tribunate, that I may pass over his quaestorship in Macedonia, and come at length to events that are more recent. Yet I ought not to remain silent about that remarkable honesty which he displayed in his province - of which I lately saw traces in Macedonia, not faintly impressed as the record of a brief space of time, but so fixed that that province might ever remember it. But let us pass over all this, still holding it, however, in view, still regardful as we abandon it ; let us come with might and main and all speed to that tribunate which itself has this long while been calling to us and almost sweeps my speech away with it.

[6.] L   [14] About this tribunate, indeed, Quintus Hortensius has spoken already in such a manner that his words appeared not only to contain a defence against the charges made, but also to prescribe for the you a pattern and a lesson on political life well wort remembering. But since Publius Sestius, throughout his tribunate, did nothing but support my reputation and cause, I feel obliged to deal with the same subject, if not arguing with any minuteness, at least showing some indignation in my regrets. And if, as I speak, I should wish to attack certain persons with some asperity, who would not leave me free to scarify with my tongue those who have assaulted me with criminal madness ? But I will plead with moderation, and will let my client's need influence me rather than my indignation. If any are secretly hostile to my welfare, let them not show themselves; if any have at any time done anything, but now keep quiet and say nothing, we also, I hope, have forgotten ; if any place themselves in my way or follow on my heels, I will tolerate them as far as possible, and my speech will hurt no one, unless he puts himself straight before me - and then it will be clear that I did not deliberately assail him, but stumbled upon him.

[15] But before I begin to speak of the tribunate of Publius Sestius, I must tell you all about the complete shipwreck of the State in the year before : it was to collecting the wreckage and to restoring the public safety that you will find my client's every deed, word, and thought to have been directed.

[7.] L   That year had already passed over our country, gentlemen, in which, amidst great disturbance and general panic, a bow was bent against me alone, as people said who knew nothing about politics, but in reality against the whole State, by the adoption into a plebeian family of a mad revolutionary, a rogue who was angered with me, but a far more savage enemy of security and the public safety. Gnaeus Pompeius, a most illustrious man and most friendly to me when many persons were setting themselves against me, had bound him by every kind of guarantee, agreement, and solemn oath that he would do nothing against me during his tribunate. But that abominable wretch, sprung from the off-scourings of every sort of crime, thought that his bond would not be properly violated unless the very man who guaranteed another from danger should be threatened with dangers of his own. [16] This foul and monstrous beast, although the auspices had bound him, although ancient custom had tied him down, although the fetters of the leges sacratae held him fast, a consul suddenly released by a resolution of the curiae, either (as I suppose) because he had been over-persuaded, or (as some thought) because he was angry with me, but certainly not knowing and not expecting the great crimes and troubles that were hanging over our heads. And this tribune of the commons was fortunate in attempts at overthrowing the State, by no vigour of his own - for what vigour could a man have who had lived such a life, exhausted by shameful intercourse with his brothers and sisters and by every kind of unexampled licentiousness? [17] But it must have been some fatality ordained for the State, that this blind and senseless tribune of the commons managed to find two - what am I to say? consuls ? am I to call by this name those who overthrew this Empire, betrayed your high estate, were the enemies of all loyalists, and who thought that to confound the Senate, to humiliate the Equestrian Order, to abolish all the laws and institutions of our ancestors, was the purpose for which they had been decorated with those fasces and the other insignia of their high office and command? If you do not yet care to recall their crimes and the wounds they branded upon the State then, in the name of heaven, look in imagination upon their faces and their bearing ; their deeds will more readily suggest themselves to your minds, if you put their very looks before your eyes. [8.] L   [18] Here is one of them. Dripping with unguents, with waved hair, looking down on the partners of his debaucheries and the greybeard abusers of his dainty youth, puffed up with rage against the Exchange { Puteal } and the herds of usurers, who had once driven him to take refuge in the harbour of a tribunate from the danger of being stuck up on the Column in a sea of debt as in those Straits of Scylla, he spoke with contempt of the Roman knights, he threatened the Senate, he ingratiated himself with hired ruffians, and boasted that they had saved him from standing his trial on a charge of bribery, he said that he hoped they would also help him to a province, Senate or no Senate, and if he failed to get it he thought nothing could save him. [19] The other - good heavens! see him marching along - how repulsive, how fierce, how terrible he was to look at! You would have thought you saw one of our bearded forefathers, a perfect specimen of the old regime, a mirror of antiquity, a pillar of the State. Coarsely clad in our common purple, almost in black, with hair in such a tangle that at Capua, where he was then in office as duumvir in order to add another honour to his list, he looked as if he meant to carry off the Seplasia with him. And what am I to say of his eyebrow, which then did not seem to men to be a high brow, but a guarantee for the State ? There was such a solemnity in his eye, there were such wrinkles in his forehead, that this eyebrow seemed to be sponsor for the year's security. [20] The common talk was - "After all, he is a great and strong pillar of the State ; I have some one to set against that pest, that muck-heap ; upon my honour, he will break down his colleague's caprices and levity by a look ; the Senate will have someone to follow for this year ; loyal citizens will not lack a leader and a chief." Lastly, people were congratulating me in particular, because I was going to have one who was not only a friend and kinsman, but also a courageous and dignified consul, to help me against a raving and audacious tribune of the commons.

[9.] L   The first of these men deceived no one. For who could imagine that to hold the helm of so great an empire, and guide the rudder of the ship of state, as it sped along amid tempestuous waves, was in the power of a man who had suddenly emerged from a long sojourn in the dark, from haunts of debauchery, a man worn out with drunkenness, gluttony, lewdness, and adultery : when, beyond his hopes, he had been raised to the highest rank by the help of others, he who in his drunken bouts was not only unable to see a threatening storm, but could not even endure to look at the light, so long a stranger to him? [21] The other utterly deceived many of us in every way. For his noble birth alone, that alluring procuress, commended him to public opinion. All we who are good citizens always favour noble birth, both because it is good for the State that there should be noblemen, worthy of their ancestors, and because the memory of distinguished men and of those who have deserved well of the State lives in our hearts even after they are dead. Because they saw him always grim, taciturn, somewhat rough and unpolished, and because he bore a name which seemed to have made frugality the hereditary virtue of his family, they favoured him, they rejoiced, they encouraged him to prove to be as honest a man as his ancestors, forgetting his mother's blood. [22] But I too - to tell the truth, gentlemen - never believed that there was so much villainy, audacity, and cruelty in the man, as I together with the whole State found by experience. I certainly knew that he was a bad man, unsteady, that public opinion was wrong in allowing him to be recommended by his youth, for his heart was concealed by his face, his scandalous acts by the walls of his house. But the screen is not lasting, nor is it so thick that it cannot be seen through by inquisitive eyes.

[10.] L   We observed his mode of life, his idleness and inactivity ; his sequestered vices were on view for those who came a little closer; finally the man's talk also would give us a handle by which we could grasp his hidden feelings. [23] The accomplished creature used to praise some philosophers or other, but could not give their names; still he praised those most who are said to be above all others the teachers and eulogists of pleasure ; what pleasure, and when and how he did not inquire ; he had swallowed the single word with all his heart and with all his might ; he added that these same men were quite right in saying that the wise do everything for their own interests ; that no sane man should engage in public affairs ; that nothing was preferable to a life of tranquillity crammed full of pleasures; but those who said that men should aim at an honourable position, should consult the public interest, should think of duty throughout life not of self-interest, should face danger for their country, receive wounds, welcome death; these he called visionaries and madmen. [24] With his talk of this kind going on all day and every day, and because I saw what kind of men he lived with in his inner chambers, and because the house itself so reeked that there was many a stinking sign of his dirty habits, I made up my mind to expect no good from such rubbish, although certainly I need fear no harm. But it is like this, gentlemen. If you were to give a sword to a little boy or a weak, feeble old man, he would hurt no one by his own effort, but if he approaches a defenceless man, even though one of the bravest, he may be able to wound him by the sharpness and force of the weapon alone : so, when you had put the consulship like a sword into the hands of men unnerved and exhausted, who of themselves would never have been able to scratch anyone's skin, they, armed with the name of supreme power, put the defenceless State to the sword. They openly made an alliance with a tribune of the commons, to receive from him what provinces they wanted, troops and money as much as they wanted, on condition that they themselves should first hand over to him the State prostrate and fettered. This alliance, they said, when struck could be ratified by the shedding of my blood. [25] When the plot was disclosed - for such a crime could neither be disguised nor hidden - at one and the same time two bills were brought forward by the same tribune to compass my ruin and to allot a province to each consul expressly.

[11.] L   At this point the Senate became anxious ; you, knights of Rome, were aroused ; the whole of Italy was deeply moved ; in fact, men of every rank and class were of opinion that help must be sought for the supreme interests of the State from the consuls and from their supreme authority - although they were the only persons except that raving tribune, those two whirlwinds that swept over the State, who not only failed to come to the support of their country when it was falling headlong, but lamented because it was collapsing too slowly. They were daily importuned by the complaints of all patriotic men, even by the entreaties of the Senate, to take up my cause, to do something, in fact, to bring the matter before the House ; but not only with denials but also with mockery did they continue to assail every man of mark in that body. [26] And then, straightway, when an amazing throng had assembled on the Capitol from the whole city and from the whole of Italy, all deemed it their duty to put on mourning, and to defend me also in every possible way by measures of their own, since the State had lost its public leaders. At the same time the Senate had assembled in the Temple of Concord, the very temple that recalled the memory of my consulship, and the whole Order with tears entreated the consul with curly hair - for the other one, shockheaded and grave, carefully kept at home. With what haughtiness did that filthy pest then reject the entreaties of that illustrious Order and the tears of most eminent citizens! How contemptuously did he treat me - this devourer of his country! for why should I say of his "patrimony," all of which he lost, in spite of the plying of his trade ? You came to the Senate in mourning, you, I say, Roman knights and all loyal citizens, and to save my life threw yourselves at the feet of that foul pimp. Then, after that brigand had rejected your prayers, a man of amazing loyalty, greatness of spirit, and firmness of purpose, L. Ninnius, submitted to the Senate a motion to discuss the general state of public affairs, and a full House passed a resolution that my welfare demanded the wearing of mourning.

[12.] L   [27] Gentlemen, what a fatal day for the Senate and all good citizens, deplorable for the State, a day made grievous to me for distress within my household, but glorious for remembrance in times to come ! For what greater distinction can anyone choose out of all the history of the past than that, to save one citizen, all good men personally by common consent, and the whole Senate by public resolution, put on mourning ? This change of dress, indeed, was not made then for the sake of intercession but only to show sorrow. For with whom could one intercede when all were in mourning, and when it was sufficient mark of a scoundrel, if a man had not changed his dress? After this change of dress had been made, while the city was overwhelmed with sorrow, I say nothing of what that tribune did, that despoiler of all things divine and human ; how he summoned young men of the highest birth, most honourable Roman knights, who interceded for my welfare, and exposed them to the swords and stones of his hirelings. Here I speak only of the consuls, on whose loyalty the State had a right to rely. [28] Frightened out of his wits, he flies from the Senate, as disturbed in mind and countenance as if a few years before he had come upon his creditors in conclave. He calls a meeting ; consul as he was, he delivers a speech such as a victorious Catiline would never have uttered. People were mistaken, he said, if they thought that the Senate still possessed some power in the State ; but as for the Roman Knights, they would pay for the day on which, during my consulship, they had been on the slope of the Capitol in arms ; that the hour of vengeance had arrived for those (he meant of course the conspirators) who had hitherto been in fear. If he had only so spoken, he would deserve every kind of punishment, for the mere speech of a consul, if mischievous, can shake the commonwealth. [29] But mark what he did! at that meeting he banished Lucius Lamia, who was specially devoted to me owing to my intimacy with his father, and was ready at that time to sacrifice even his life for the State ; and he issued an edict that he keep two hundred miles away from the city, on the ground that he had dared to intercede for a citizen - for a citizen who had served his country well, for a friend, for the public good.

[13.] L   What can you do with a man like this ? what punishment can you reserve for so abominable a citizen, or rather so vicious an enemy ? who, to pass over all else that he shares in common with his monstrous and infamous colleague, has one thing peculiar to himself - the fact that he expelled from the city, that he banished - I do not say a Roman knight, a most distinguished and excellent man, a citizen most devoted to the State, not one who at that very moment was lamenting in company with the Senate and all loyal citizens the plight of his friend and the ruin of the State; but I do say that without any trial, he, as consul, expelled by edict a Roman citizen from his country. [30] Our allies and the Latins never felt more bitterly aggrieved than when - as very rarely happened - they were ordered by the consuls to leave the city ; and yet they were then able to return to their own cities, to the gods of their homes, and amidst that general annoyance no personal disgrace fell upon any one expressly. But what is this present pass? Shall a consul drive out by an edict Roman citizens from their very homes? expel them from their country ? choose anyone he pleases, to condemn and cast him out expressly ? If he had thought that you would ever occupy the position in the State that you do to-day, - yes, if he had believed that any shadow or ghost of the Courts of Justice would be left in the State, would he ever have dared to wipe out the Senate from the constitution, to treat the prayers of Roman knights with contempt, and, finally, to overthrow the rights and liberty of all citizens by new and unheard-of edicts ?

[31] Although you are listening to me most attentively and with the greatest indulgence, gentlemen, I am nevertheless afraid that some one of you may perhaps wonder what can be the meaning of this speech of mine, so long or going so far back, or what the case of Publius Sestius has to do with the crimes of those who troubled the State before he was tribune. But my intention is to show that the whole policy and purpose of his tribunate was to heal, as far as it could, the wounds of an afflicted and ruined State. And if, in laying open these wounds, I seem to say rather much about myself, you must pardon me. For both you and all loyal citizens held that the disaster that befell me was the greatest possible wound to the State, and that Publius Sestius is a defendant not on his own account, but on mine ; and since he devoted all the strength his tribunate gave him to promoting my welfare, my cause in past time must needs be linked with the defence of Sestius in the present.

[14.] L   [32] The Senate then was in grief. All citizens, by public resolution, were drab in the garb of mourning ; there was in Italy no borough, no colony, no prefecture, no company of tax-farmers in Rome, no club nor association, nor, in short, any deliberative body, which had not at that time passed a decree in the most complimentary terms concerning my welfare, when suddenly the two consuls published an edict that senators should resume their usual dress. What consul ever prohibited the Senate from obeying its own decrees ? what tyrant ever forbade the unhappy to mourn? Are you not content, Piso (to say nothing of Gabinius), with having so deceived public expectation as to ignore a resolution of the Senate, to despise the advice of every loyal citizen, to betray the State, to degrade the name of consul ? would you also be bold enough to issue an edict that the people should not lament my, their own, the public calamity, that they should not show their sorrow by their dress ? Whether that change of dress was intended to show their own grief, or as a sign of entreaty, who ever was so cruel as to prevent anyone either from mourning for himself or from intercession on behalf of others ? [33] Again, are not men in the habit of changing their dress by their own wish when their friends are in danger? Will no one go into mourning for you, Piso? not even those whom you nominated to your staff on your own authority, not only without a decree of the Senate, but even against its wish ? The misfortune, then, of a desperate man and a traitor to the State shall perhaps be lamented by those who choose ; but when a citizen fully enjoys the goodwill of loyal men and has done his utmost for the welfare of his country, shall it not be lawful for the Senate to lament his peril - a peril that involves peril to the State ? And yet those very same consuls - if they are to be called consuls, whose names all think ought to be torn out not only from human memory but also from public records - after a bargain had been struck about the provinces, were brought before a meeting in the Circus Flaminius by that madman, that curse of his country, and to your profound grief gave their approval, by both word and vote, to all that was then being done against myself and the State.

[15.] L   And, while the same consuls sat there and looked on, a law was passed that the auspices should have no validity, that no one should announce unfavourable omens, that no one should veto a law, that it should be permissible for laws to be passed on all dies fasti, that the Aelian Law and Fufian Law should be invalid. Who cannot see that by this single bill the constitution was utterly destroyed ? [34] And with the same consuls looking on, a levy of slaves was held on the front of the Tribunal of Aurelius on the pretext of forming clubs ; men were enlisted street by street, formed into squads, and incited to force, deeds of violence, murder and robbery. And with these same consuls in office, arms were openly carried into the Temple of Castor, the steps of the Temple itself were taken away, the forum and public meeting-places were packed with armed men, stoning and murders took place ; the Senate was nobody, the other magistrates were nothing ; one man alone held all power with the help of arms and brigandage, not by any force of his own, but after he had diverted the two consuls from the interests of the State by the bargain over the provinces, he behaved insolently, played the tyrant, made promises to some, kept his hold on many by fear and terror, on still more by hopes and promises.

[35] Although things had come to this pass, gentlemen, although the Senate had no leaders, and instead of leaders, traitors, or rather open enemies ; although the Equestrian Order was put on its trial by the consuls, the authority of the whole of Italy defied, certain persons expressly banished, others terrified by fear and danger ; although there were arms in the temples, armed men in the forum, and although all this was not ignored in silence by the consuls, but approved both by their word and their vote; although we all saw the city, not yet annihilated and overthrown, but already captured and subdued ; nevertheless, gentlemen, such was the enthusiasm of loyal citizens that we should have resisted all these great evils, had there not been other fears, other anxieties, and other suspicions which influenced my conduct.

[16.] L   [36] For I will set before you to-day, gentlemen, a complete account of what I did, and the motives which influenced me; nor will I disappoint your earnest desire of hearing me any more than I will fail this great crowd, one greater than I ever remember attending a trial. For if I, in so good a cause, with the enthusiastic support of the Senate, with the extraordinary unanimity of all loyal citizens, with the Equestrian Order ready, and in short all Italy prepared to fight to the utmost, - if I yielded to the madness of that despicable tribune of the commons, if I showed myself afraid of the worthlessness and audacity of those contemptible consuls, I confess myself to have been all too timid, a man of no courage and of no judgment. [37] For how can the case of Quintus Metellus be compared with mine ? Although all loyalists favoured his cause, yet neither the Senate by a public vote, nor any Order by a private vote, nor the whole of Italy by its decrees had taken it up. For the truth was that he had shown greater regard for some sort of glory of his own than for the manifest welfare of the State, when he alone had refused to take an oath to observe a law that had been passed by violence ; in short, there seemed to be a catch in that display of courage - he bartered away affection for his country in exchange for the credit of steadfastness. But he had to deal with the unconquered army of Gaius Marius; he had as an enemy Gaius Marius, the saviour of his country, who was then for the sixth time consul; he had to deal with Lucius Saturninus, tribune of the commons for the second time, a man fully alert and one who in supporting the popular cause behaved, if not with moderation, at least in the interest of the People and without self-seeking. He yielded, either for fear that if defeated by brave men he might fall with disgrace, or, if victorious, he might bereave the State of many brave citizens. [38] But my cause was taken up by the Senate openly, by the Equestrian Order with the greatest energy, by the whole of Italy through public resolutions, by all loyal citizens individually and with the greatest enthusiasm. My measures were not grounded on my sole authority, but carried out the general will; they not only concerned my personal reputation, but the general welfare of all citizens, I might say of all peoples ; in carrying them out I fully expected that all men would make it a duty always to uphold and defend what I had done.

[17.] L   But I had to contend not with a victorious army, but with gangs of hirelings, made eager to plunder the city; I had as an enemy not Gaius Marius, the terror of his enemies, the hope and support of his country, but two dangerous monsters, whom want, and enormous debts, and shifty character, and depravity, had assigned like slaves in bondage to a tribune of the commons; [39] nor had I to deal with Saturninus, who because he knew that the import of corn had been, as an intentional insult, transferred from him when he was quaestor at Ostia to Marcus Scaurus, Father of the Senate and a leading man in the State, was with all energy seeking an outlet for his indignation ; but I had to deal with a debauched favourite of wealthy rakes, a lover of his own sister, a priest of profligacy, a poisoner, a forger of wills, an assassin, a brigand ; and if I had overcome these men by force of arms, as was easy to be done, as it would have been right to do, and as the best and bravest citizens demanded that I should do, I had no fear that anyone would blame me for repelling force with force, or that anyone would lament the death of abandoned citizens or rather enemies in our midst. But the reasons that decided me were these. In all his speeches that madman continued to shout that what he did to ruin me he did with the approval of that illustrious man, Gnaeus Pompeius, who both is now and was then, as far as was permitted him, most friendly to myself. Marcus Crassus, to whom I was attached by all the ties of friendship, a man of the greatest courage, was declared by that same pest to be most hostile to my interests. Gaius Caesar, who had no right to be estranged from me through any demerit of mine, was also said by Clodius at his daily meetings to be strongly opposed to my welfare. [40] These three men, he said, he would use as his advisers in framing his policy, and as his assistants in carrying it out. One of them, he said, had a very large army in Italy ; the two others, who were at the time in a private position, could if they wished both command and raise an army, and this he said they would do. Nor did he threaten me with a trial by the people, nor with any legal proceeding, nor with any disputed point or pleading of a cause, but with violence, arms, armies, commanders, camps.

[18.] L   Well then? did the language of an enemy, especially as it was false, so shamelessly directed against men of the highest distinction, shake my resolution ? It was not his language, but the obstinate silence of those to whom that shameless language was made to refer, who at that time remained silent for other reasons, yet to men who were afraid of everything they seemed by silence to speak, and by not denying, to confess. But they were just then under some great terror, because they thought that all those acts and all the measures of the previous year were being undermined by the praetors and weakened by the Senate and the leading men in the State, and being unwilling to estrange a popular tribune, they used to say that their own dangers touched them more nearly than mine. [41] Crassus, however, said that my cause ought to be taken up by the consuls, and Pompey also appealed to them, declaring that he, though a private individual, would not desert a cause officially taken up by them ; but devoted as he was to me and most eager for the salvation of the State, he was warned to be more careful by certain persons, placed in my house for that purpose, who declared that a plot against his life was being planned by me at my house. And they kept this suspicion awake in him, some by sending letters, some by messengers, others in person, so that at last, although he certainly had nothing to fear from me, he thought that he ought to be on his guard against these people, for fear they might attempt something in my name. Moreover, Caesar himself, who by certain persons ignorant of the truth was thought to be especially offended with me, was at the gates of the city, with military authority ; his army was in Italy, and in that army he had given a command to a brother of that very tribune of the commons who was my enemy.

[19.] L   [42] When I saw these things - for there was no secret about them - that the Senate, without which the State could not stand firm, had been uprooted from the State; that the consuls, who ought to have been leaders of the policy of the State, had by their own acts brought such policy to an utter end ; that those persons who had the greatest influence were put up against me at all public meetings - not in real earnest, but still in a way to create alarm - as men who planned my ruin; that such meetings were held every day in which I was attacked ; that no one lifted up his voice on my behalf nor in defence of the State ; that the standards of the legions were thought to be threatening your lives and property - wrongly, it is true, but it was still believed ; that the veteran forces of the conspirators and that dangerous army of Catiline, once dispersed and daunted, had rallied under a new leader and an unexpected turn of events - when I saw all this, what was I to do, gentlemen ? for I know that at that time it was not your zeal that failed me, but perhaps my own that failed yours. [43] Was I, a private individual, to take up arms and make war upon a tribune of the commons ? The loyal would have defeated the disloyal, the brave the slothful; he would have been slain who by this sole remedy could have been kept from ruining the country. Again, who would take the responsibility for what happened afterwards ? In short, who could doubt that the blood of a tribune, especially if shed without official authority, would find avengers and defenders in the consuls, when a certain person had declared in a meeting that I must either die once or conquer twice ? What did he mean by conquering twice? No doubt, if I had fought it out with that frenzied tribune of the commons, I should have to fight with the consuls and the rest of his avengers. [44] But even if I had been doomed to perish, instead of receiving a wound which for me was curable but fatal to the man who had inflicted it, I would still have preferred, gentlemen, to perish once rather than to conquer twice. For the nature of that second struggle was such that, whether vanquished or victors, we should not have been able to preserve the constitution. What would have happened if in the first struggle I had been defeated by a victorious tribune, and had fallen in the forum with many a loyalist? No doubt the consuls would have summoned the Senate, which they had uprooted from the constitution; they would have called the people to arms although they had not allowed the State to be defended even by civil dress; they would have quarrelled with a tribune of the commons after my death, although they had desired that the moment of my destruction should be that of their reward.

[20.] L   [45] One thing, indeed, was left for me, as perhaps some persons of courage, energy, and high spirit may say: "You should have resisted, you should have fought back, you should have met death fighting." As to this, I call thee to witness, thee, thee, I say, my country, and you, ancestral Gods of our State, that it was for the sake of your abodes and temples, for the salvation of my fellow-citizens, which has ever been dearer to me than life, that I avoided fighting and bloodshed. For if it had happened to me, gentlemen, when sailing in a ship with my friends, that pirates coming in numbers from many quarters threatened to sink that ship with their fleets, unless my friends surrendered me alone to them, if the passengers refused to do so, and preferred death with me to handing me over to the enemy, I would rather have cast myself into the deep to save the others, than I would bring those loving friends, I will not say to certain death, but into great danger of losing their lives. [46] But when this ship of state, after the helm had been torn from the grip of the Senate, tossing about on the deep and buffeted by the blasts of sedition and discord, seemed likely to be attacked by many an armed fleet, unless I alone were given up; when proscription, bloodshed, and plunder were threatened; when some were prevented from defending me because they suspected it would be dangerous to themselves, others were roused by their inveterate hatred of loyal citizens; while some envied me, others thought that I was an obstacle to their plans, others wanted to avenge some grievance of their own, others hated the State itself and the security now enjoyed by loyal citizens, and for these many and various reasons demanded that I alone should be sacrificed, - was it my duty to fight it out, I will not say to your utter ruin, but certainly with danger to you and to your children, rather than alone take upon myself and endure, on behalf of all, that which was threatening all ? [21.] L   [47] "The disloyal would have been conquered.'' But they were citizens, but it would have been by arms, but it would have been by a private citizen, who even as consul had saved the State without arms! And if the loyalists had been conquered, who would be left now ? Do you not see that the State would have fallen into the power of slaves? Ought I myself, as some think, to have been resigned to death? What if I was? Was I avoiding death? Was there anything which I thought more desirable ? Or when I was doing all I did amidst so great a multitude of traitors, was not death, was not exile always before my eyes ? Nay, was it not, in fact, that which, even while I was carrying out that great task, I myself then predicted as my doom ? Was life worth keeping when my family and friends were plunged in mourning, when the closest ties were broken, when my heart was full of bitterness, when I had been robbed of all the gifts which nature or fortune had bestowed upon me? Was I so ill-informed, so ignorant of the world, was I so destitute of judgment or ability? Had I heard nothing, seen nothing, had I learnt nothing myself by reading and inquiry ? Did I not know that the duration of life is short, that of glory everlasting ? that since death is the appointed lot of all, it were to be wished that the life, which was forfeit to necessity, should be seen rather to have been offered as a tribute to my country than to have been reserved as a debt due to nature? did I not know that among the wisest philosophers this had been a subject of dispute, some asserting that men's spirits and consciousness were destroyed by death, others holding that it is after they have left the body that the minds of wise men and heroes possess most consciousness and vigour ? that one of these ought not to be shunned - the loss of consciousness ; that the other was even to be desired - the enjoyment of a higher consciousness! [48] Lastly, as I had always made honour my rule of life, and thought that nothing in life was to be sought for by a man without it, should I, a man of consular rank, after I had accomplished such great deeds, be afraid of death, which even young Athenian maidens, the daughters, I fancy, of King Erechtheus, are said to have despised for the sake of their country ? especially as I was a citizen of that same city from which Gaius Mucius came when he entered the camp of Porsenna by himself, and, with death staring him in the face, attempted to kill him ; from which the elder Publius Decius first, and some years afterwards his son, endowed with the valour of his father, had devoted themselves and their lives, with their armies in battle array, for the safety and victory of the Roman People ; from which countless others, partly to gain glory, partly to avoid disgrace, had met death in various wars wit the greatest calmness ; from that city in which I myself remembered how that bravest of men, the father of Marcus Crassus, here present in court, that he might not live to see his enemy victorious, ended his life with the same hand with which he had often dealt death unto his foes.

[22.] L   [49] Thinking over these and many other matters, I saw that if my death should prove the final destruction of the State, there would never be anyone who would dare to undertake to save it against disloyal citizens. And so, not only if I perished by violence, but even if I died by disease, I thought that an example of how the State might be preserved would perish along with me. For if I had not been recalled by the Senate and People of Rome, amid remarkable enthusiasm of all patriots - and that surely my death would have rendered impossible - who would ever dare to take any part in public affairs when there was the least risk of personal unpopularity ? So then I saved the State by quitting Rome, gentlemen; by my own grief and sorrow I kept off from you and your children devastation, fire, and rapine; alone I twice saved the State, once with glory, the second time with misery to myself. For on this point I will never deny that I am but human ; I will never boast that I felt no grief, when I found myself deprived of the best of brothers, of my dearest children, of my most faithful wife, of the sight of you, of my country, of this my honoured position. If I had felt none, what sacrifice should I have made for you, when for your sakes I had surrendered only what I held cheap? This, to my mind, ought to be the surest proof of my love for my country, that although I could not live away from it without the most bitter sorrow, I preferred to endure that sorrow rather than to see it overthrown by scoundrels. [50] I remember, gentlemen, how that man, that more than man, Gaius Marius, born in my native place for the salvation of this Empire, in extreme old age, when he had escaped from a violent struggle which was almost a pitched battle, first hid his aged body beneath the waters of a marsh, and afterwards took shelter under the pity of the humblest and poorest of the inhabitants of Minturnae, whence he reached the most desolate coast of Africa in a very small vessel, avoiding all harbours and inhabited lands. Now he, in order that he might not die unavenged, reserved his life for a most uncertain hope and for the ruin of the State ; but I, whose life, as was very often said in the Senate during my absence, was lived at the risk of the State; I, who for that reason was commended to foreign peoples in consular despatches in accordance with a vote of the Senate, if I had abandoned my life, should I not have betrayed the State ? in which, now that I have been recalled, there lives in my person an example of public good faith. And if this example be preserved for ever, who can doubt that this State will be immortal ?

[23.] L   [51] Wars abroad with kings, peoples, and tribes have long ago so completely ceased, that our relations with those whom we treat as pacified dependants are excellent. Moreover, from victory in war, hardly anyone has incurred the hatred of his fellow-citizens. Internal troubles, on the other hand, and the designs of aggressive citizens must often be opposed, and a remedy for such dangers must be preserved in the State ; and that, gentlemen, you would have lost entirely, if my death had deprived the Senate and the People of Rome of the power of declaring their sorrow for my misfortune. Wherefore I warn you, young Romans - and I have the right to give you this advice - you who look for an honourable position, for the welfare of the State, and for glory, do not hesitate or, from the recollection of my misfortune, shrink from adopting a resolute policy, should necessity ever call upon you to defend the State against disloyal citizens. [52] In the first place, there is no fear of anyone ever again meeting with such consuls - especially if that which is their due shall be paid to them in full. In the next place, never again, as I hope, will any scoundrel boast that he is attacking the State by the advice and with the help of loyal citizens, while they remain silent, nor confront peaceable citizens with the terror of an armed force ; nor will a commander encamped at the gates of Rome have any just reason for allowing the terror of his name to be falsely flung in our faces. Finally, never shall the Senate be so crushed as not to have the right of entreating and showing its grief, never shall the Equestrian Order be so degraded that Roman knights are banished by a consul. Although these things and others of much greater importance, which I purposely pass over, did happen, you see me, after a brief period of sorrow, recalled by the voice of the State to my former honourable position.

[24.] L   [53] But to turn to the object which I have set before me throughout the whole of my speech, - to show, I mean, that in that year the State was ruined by all manner of evils through the wickedness of the consuls : first of all, on that very day, fatal to me and full of sorrow for all loyal citizens, when I had torn myself away from the arms of my country and from the sight of you; when, through fear of danger to you, not to myself, I had yielded to a man's madness, to his crime, perfidy, arms and threats, and had left my country, which was dearer than anything else to me, for the very reason that it was so dear ; when not only men, but the houses and temples of the city were lamenting my disgrace, so horrible, so overwhelming, and so unexpected ; when none of you had any wish to look upon the forum or the Senate House, or to face the light of day ; on that very day - do I say day? nay rather, at the same hour, and at the same moment, laws were put to the vote to ruin myself and the State, and to assign provinces to Piso and Gabinius. Immortal Gods, guardians and saviours of this city and Empire, what abominable atrocities, what crimes did ye then behold in the State! A citizen had been driven out, - a citizen who had defended the State under a resolution of theSenate and in concert with all loyal citizens, driven out on that charge alone, and on no other. He had, also, been driven out without a trial, by violence, by stones, by the sword, yes, even by inciting slaves to join the tumult. A law had been passed, after the Forum had been ravaged and abandoned, and surrendered to assassins and slaves ; and to prevent that law being passed the Senate had put on mourning. [54] While the State was in such confusion, the consuls did not allow even a single night to intervene between my overthrow and the seizure of their booty. The moment I was struck down they flew to let my blood, and while the State was still breathing, to strip it of their spoil. I say nothing about the giving of thanks, the banquets, the sharing out of public money, favours, hopes and promises, plunder, the joy of a few amidst marks of universal sorrow. My wife was persecuted ; my children's lives were threatened ; my son-in-law, and that son-in-law a Piso, was driven away from the feet of Piso the consul, where he lay a suppliant; my property was seized, and that also was carried off to the consuls ; my house on the Palatine was in flames - and the consuls were feasting. Yet even if they rejoiced at my disasters, they ought to have been affected by the peril of the State.

[25.] L   [55] But to pass now from my own case, call to mind the other iniquities of that year; for by so doing you will most readily perceive what a world of remedies of all kinds the State craved from the magistrates of the next year - a multitude of laws, both those that were passed, and those that were only put forward. For laws were passed while those consuls were - shall I say silent? nay rather openly manifested their approval - to the effect that the censors' investigation of character, that is to say, the verdict, so authoritative, of a most hallowed magistracy, should be removed from the constitution ; that not only should those former clubs be restored in defiance of a decree of the Senate, but that one single gladiator should be able to enrol as many other new clubs as he pleased ; that by remission of the six and one-third asses the revenues should be diminished by nearly a fifth ; that Syria should be given to Gabinius instead of his proper province Cilicia, which he had bargained for as the price of betraying the State, and that a single bloodsucker should be given the power of deliberating twice about the same thing, and after the passing of one law he should by a new law have the power of changing his province.

[26.] L   [56] I pass over that law, which by a single proposal abolished all the rules of law about ritual observances, the auspices, and the powers of the magistrates, and all the laws which have reference to the legal forms of proposing laws and the time for doing so. I pass over all that we suffered at home: we saw even foreign peoples shaken by the frenzy of that year. By a tribunician law, the priest of the Great Mother at Pessinus was expelled from his temple and deprived of his priesthood, and a sanctuary of most holy and most ancient religious cults was sold for a large sum to Brogitarus, a most immoral man, and unworthy of that sacred office, especially as he had desired it, not for the purpose of worship, but of profanation. Persons who had never asked even the Senate to give them such titles, were called kings by the People. Condemned exiles were brought back to Byzantium, at a time when citizens who had not been condemned were being driven from Rome. [57] King Ptolemy, who if he himself had not yet been declared our ally by the Senate, was yet the brother of that king who, though his circumstances were the same, had already obtained that honour from the Senate, who belonged to the same race, had the same ancestors, and was united to us by the same long-standing ties. In short, he was a king, and if not yet an ally, was at least not an enemy. Living in peace and quietness under the protection of the rule of the Roman People, he was enjoying to the full his paternal and ancestral realm in kingly ease. While he was ignorant of what was afoot and suspected nothing, a proposal was brought forward and voted for by these same hirelings, that Ptolemy, seated on his throne, arrayed in purple, with sceptre in hand and wearing his royal diadem, should be delivered over to a public auctioneer ; and that by the sovereign will of the Roman People, which has often restored their kingdoms even to kings who have been defeated in war, a friendly king, against whom no charge of wrong-doing had been brought, nor demand for satisfaction made, should, together with all his goods, be put up for public auction.

[27.] L   [58] That year was marked by many cruel, many disgraceful, many revolutionary acts. Yet I almost think we may fairly say that the crime I have mentioned comes nearest to that crime, which their barbarism perpetrated against myself. Antiochus the Great, when after an obstinate resistance he had been defeated both by land and sea, was directed by our ancestors to be king "within Mount Taurus" ; Asia, which they took from him as a punishment, was presented to Attalus to form part of his kingdom. We ourselves lately carried on a long and serious war against Tigranes, king of Armenia, since, by inflicting injuries on our allies, he had virtually provoked us with war. He was both a vigorous enemy himself and he used all the resources of his kingdom to defend Mithridates, a most bitter foe of this Empire, after Mithridates had been driven from Pontus. And Tigranes, although he had been repulsed by that illustrious man and commander, Lucius Lucullus, nevertheless, together with the remains of his forces, still showed the same spirit of hostility and his old resolution. Gnaeus Pompeius, however, when he saw him in his camp a suppliant at his feet, raised him up, and replaced the royal diadem which Tigranes had cast from his head; and, having imposed certain conditions, bade him continue to be king, thinking that it would be no less glorious both for himself and this Empire that men should see that he had been set up on his throne by him rather than thrown into fetters. [59] So then this king of Armenia, who was not only himself an enemy of the Roman People, but had received into his kingdom our bitterest foe, who had fought against us, engaged in close combat with us, who had all but struggled with us for power, reigns at the present day, and obtained by entreaty that title of Friend and Ally which he had forfeited by war. But that unfortunate king of Cyprus, who had always been our Friend and Ally, concerning whom no serious suspicion had ever reached the Senate or our commanders, saw himself, with his own living eyes, as they say, put up to auction together with every single thing he had in the world. Other kings, of course, should have good reason to regard their position as secure, when, with the precedent of that disastrous year before their eyes, they see some tribune or other and countless hirelings able to deprive them of their thrones and all they possess !

[28.] L   [60] Moreover their intention in this business was to tarnish the illustrious name of Marcus Cato, ignorant as they were what strength there is in character, in integrity, in greatness of soul, and in that virtue which remains unshaken by violent storms ; which shines in darkness ; which though dislodged still abides and remains unmoved from its true home ; is radiant always by its own light and is never sullied by the baseness of others. They did not propose to honour Cato, but to banish him ; not to entrust him with a mission, but to impose a task upon him ; since they openly boasted in public that they had plucked out Cato's tongue, which had always freely denounced extraordinary commissions. They will feel, and I hope shortly, that our freedom of speech still remains; and even that it is all the greater, if possible, because Cato, even when he no longer had any hope that anything could be accomplished by his personal influence, nevertheless fought against those consuls even with his outspoken indignation, and after my departure, deploring my misfortune and that of the State, he harassed Piso with such language that that most abandoned and shameless villain almost regretted that he had been given a province. [61] Why then did he obey this resolution ? As if he had not already taken an oath to obey other laws, which he considered had been unjustly brought forward ! He is not prepared, by sacrificing himself to their reckless designs, to rob the State of a citizen like himself, when his loss is of no advantage to the State. During my consulship, when he was tribune-elect of the commons, he exposed his life to danger ; he expressed that opinion, for the unpopularity of which he saw that he would have to hold himself responsible at the risk of his life; he put vehemence into his words, energy into his actions; he openly expressed what he felt ; he was the leader, the instigator, the authority for those measures ; not that he did not see the danger which threatened him, but he thought, that when such a storm was raging in the State, nothing should occupy his mind except the dangers of his country.

[29.] L   [62] His tribunate followed. What shall I say of his remarkable greatness of soul and amazing courage? You remember that day, when a temple had been occupied by a colleague, and we were all afraid for the life of that great man and great citizen, how he himself proceeded to the temple with the most steadfast spirit, and calmed the shouts of the people by his authority, the vehemence of the disloyal by his courage. At that time he braved danger, and he braved it for a most important reason which I need not now state. But if he had not obeyed that infamous bill concerning Cyprus, that disgrace would none the less cling to the State ; for it was not until the kingdom had been confiscated that a motion was brought forward in which Cato himself was expressly mentioned. But, if he had refused the commission, have you any doubt that violence would have been done to him, since it would have looked as if, by the action of that one man, all the measures of that year were being rendered ineffective ? [63] Besides, he felt, that since the confiscation of this kingdom would leave a lasting stain upon the State which no one could now wash out, it would be better that the advantage which the State might obtain from this evil should be secured by himself rather than by others. And even if at that time he were being driven out of this city by any other form of violence, he would easily resign himself to it. For could a man who, in the preceding year, had not attended the meetings of the Senate, although, if he had done so then, he might at least have found in me a supporter of his political views, - could he then have remained calmly in Rome, after I had been banished from it, and in my person both the entire Senate and his own vote had been condemned? But he certainly yielded to the same circumstances as I did - to the madness of the same tribune, to the same consuls, to the same threats, to the same intrigues, to the same dangers. I drank more deeply of sorrow, but his heart was as sore as mine.

[30.] L   [64] It was the consuls' duty to have complained of these many and great wrongs inflicted upon allies, upon kings, upon free states ; for they are the magistrates under whose protection kings and foreign peoples have always been placed. Did the consuls ever utter a word on the subject? And yet who would have listened to them, if they had chosen to complain ever so much! Were they to make a complaint about the king of Cyprus, the very men who, far from defending me, a citizen with no accusation against me, suffering in the name of my country, while I still held my ground, did not even protect me when I was prostrate? If you maintain that the commons were hostile to me, which they were not, then I yielded to unpopularity ; to circumstances, if a general disturbance seemed imminent; to force of arms, if violence was impending ; to a bargain, if there was a partnership between magistrates ; to love for my country, if danger threatened its people. [65] Why, then, when a motion was brought in concerning a man's rights as a citizen - I do not discuss what sort of citizen - and the forfeiture of his property, in spite of the leges sacratae and the Twelve Tables, which expressly forbid a resolution being passed concerning an individual? or any decision being made regarding a man's rights as a citizen except in the comitia centuriata - why, I ask, did the consuls never utter a word, and why was a rule established during this year, so far as it was possible under those two curses of this Empire, that any citizen could be expressly named and legally driven out of the State by gangs of hirelings at a Meeting summoned by a tribune of the commons ?

[66] But why need I speak of all the proposals that were put forward during that year, of the promises made to many, of the written engagements, of the hopes and plans that were entertained? What spot in the world was not already allotted to some one ? What public business could be thought of, desired or dreamed of, where the management had not been already assigned and parcelled out? what sort of command, what sphere of activity, what method of coining or scraping together money was not discovered ? what district or country in the world of any size was not made the seat of some kingdom? and what king was there who in that year did not feel himself obliged to buy for himself what he had not, or to buy back what he had? Who ever asked the Senate for a province, or money; or a staff-appointment ? There had been convictions for violence : restitution was devised ; for that priest so devoted to the people a candidature for the consulship was arranged. This was what loyalists deplored, what traitors hoped for, what a tribune of the commons schemed, what consuls aided and abetted.

[31.] L   [67] Here at length, later than he himself might have wished, utterly against the will of those who, by their advice and false alarms, had turned the mind of the best and bravest of men from undertaking my defence - here at length Gnaeus Pompeius revived that old practice of his of service for the welfare of the State, which had indeed never slept, but had been rendered inactive by some sort of suspicion. That hero, who by the valour of his victorious arms had conquered our most impious citizens, our bitterest enemies, mighty tribes, kings, savage and hitherto unknown peoples, countless hordes of pirates and a band of slaves as well, who, after he had put an end to all wars both on land and sea, had set the boundary of the Empire of the Roman People at the limits of the world, could not suffer the crimes of a few to overthrow that State which he had often saved not only by his policy, but even by his own blood. He took up the cause of the State ; he resisted by his influence any further proceedings ; he lodged complaints of what had been done. There seemed to be a sort of tendency towards better hopes. [68] On the first of June a full Senate unanimously passed a decree for my return, moved by Lucius Ninnius, whose loyalty and courage in my cause have never wavered. Some one named Ligus interposed his veto, some nobody, some addition to the ranks of my enemies. The situation and my cause were now such that they seemed to lift up their eyes and live. All those who at the time of my sorrow had taken any part in the crime of Clodius, wherever they showed themselves, whatever court of justice they entered, were condemned ; no one was found to acknowledge that he had voted about me. My brother had left Asia in deep mourning, with far deeper sorrow in his heart. When he approached the city, all the people went forward to meet him with tears and lamentation. The Senate was speaking more frankly ; the Roman knights held frequent meetings. Piso, my son-in-law, who was not permitted to reap the fruits of his affection either from me or from the Roman People, urgently demanded from his kinsman the restoration of his father-in-law; the Senate refused to consider anything until the consuls had first brought in a motion about me.

[32.] L   [69] Success seemed already within our grasp. The consuls, however, had lost all freedom of action by their bargain about the provinces and, in answer to some private members in the Senate who asked leave to speak on my case, declared that they were afraid of the Clodian Law. When they could no longer offer resistance, a conspiracy was formed against the life of Gnaeus Pompeius. The plot was discovered, a weapon was seized, and Pompeius remained shut up in his house as long as my enemy remained tribune. Eight tribunes announced a proposal for my recall. And thus it was made clear not that the number of my friends had increased during my absence, especially as I found myself in a situation in which even some whom I had thought to be my friends turned out not to be so; but that their disposition had always been the same, although they had not always had the same freedom of action. For of the nine tribunes, whom I had on my side at that time, one fell away from me in my absence. By stealing a cognomen from the ancestral effigies of the Aelii, he got the reputation of belonging to the Ligurian people instead of to the Aelian family. [70] So then, in this same year, when the new magistrates were elected, and all loyal citizens had put all their hopes of a better order of things upon their good faith, Publius Lentulus first supported my cause by his influence and opinion, in spite of the opposition of Piso and Gabinius, and when the eight tribunes of the commons moved their proposition, delivered an excellent opinion about me. Although he was aware that it would redound more to his glory and would bring him greater gratitude for so signal a service if the whole case were reserved for his consulship, he preferred that a matter of such importance should be settled by others without delay rather than more slowly by himself. P

[33.] L   [71] It was then that Publius Sestius, gentlemen, tribune-elect, undertook a journey to Gaius Caesar to interest him in my welfare. What he did, how far he succeeded, has nothing to do with the case. For my own part I think, if Caesar was (as I believe) well-disposed towards me, that Sestius did no good ; and if he was offended with me, not much ; but still you see the devotion, the sincerity of the man. I now come to the actual tribunate of Sestius ; for this first journey he undertook in the public interest when he was only tribune-elect, since he thought that to establish civic harmony and to carry out his purpose it was important that Caesar should not be unfavourable to my cause. That year came to its end : men seemed to breathe again, not yet in reality, but in hope that the constitution would be restored. Away from the city, under evil omens and amid general maledictions, went a pair of vultures, in the garb of generals ; and would that the curses which men uttered at that time had brought disaster upon them alone! We should have lost neither the province of Macedonia and an army, nor some cavalry and excellent infantry in Syria. [72] The tribunes of the commons enter into office; they had all assured me that they would announce a motion for my recall. Of these, the first to be bought over by my enemies was a man whom people, laughing in their sorrow, called Gracchus; for it was even the fate of our country for that little red field-mouse, pulled out of a bramble-bush, to try to nibble a piece out of the State. But another, not the great Serranus of the plough, but he who came from the deserted farm of Gavius Olelus and had been ingrafted by the Gavii in council into the Calatini Atilii, suddenly, after he had posted up in his account-books the money he had received, removed his name from the posted list. The Kalends of January arrive. You are better informed than I am about what took place ; I speak only from hearsay. You know how full the Senate was, the people on the tiptoe of expectation, what a gathering of delegates from all Italy, the courage, the delivery, the weighty words of Publius Lentulus the consul, how considerate his colleague also showed himself towards me ; and how, after declaring that our differences in political opinion had made him my enemy, his colleague said that he would sacrifice his resentment to the will of the House and to the interests of the State.

[34.] L   [73] Then Lucius Cotta, having been asked to open the debate, delivered an opinion which was most worthy of the State. He said that the measures that had been taken against me were all unconstitutional, all opposed to the custom of our ancestors, and all illegal; that no one could be deprived of his citizenship without a trial ; that not only could no motion be made concerning a man's civil status, but not even could any judgment be pronounced against it, without reference to the comitia centuriata ; that all that business was brute force, a blaze from the collapse of the State when the world was in confusion, when right and justice were over thrown; that when a great political upheaval was imminent, I had turned aside a little and, in the hope of finding calm hereafter, had avoided the stormy waves before me. Since by my absence I had saved the State from dangers as threatening as those from which I had once delivered it by my presence, it was therefore fitting that I should not only be reinstated, but also honoured by the Senate. He also argued at great length, and with common sense, that the proposal drawn up by that demented and abandoned enemy of modesty and decency had been so drawn up in its words, facts, and intentions, that even if it had been legally made, it could not be valid ; and therefore since I had been banished under no law, I did not need to be rehabilitated by a law, but to be recalled by a resolution of the Senate. There was no one who did not agree that this opinion was sound. [74] But after him Gnaeus Pompeius was called upon, and he praised and commended the opinion of Cotta. He then said, that to make my position secure, and to be rid of all popular excitement against me, he thought it advisable that a resolution of the Senate should be accompanied by a favourable vote of the Roman People. Succeeding speakers all urged my recall, rivalling one another in the weight of their compliments, and a unanimous vote was on the point of being given, when up rose this Atilius Gavianus, as you know; he did not dare to exercise his veto, although he had been bought, but he asked for a night to consider. There was a great outcry in the Senate, reproaches, entreaties ; his father-in-law threw himself at his feet. He declared that he would cause no delay at the next sitting. He was believed ; the meeting broke up. But in the meantime the intervention of a long night afforded that man of consideration time to get his price doubled. There were only a few days in all left in the month of January on which the Senate could hold sittings ; none the less no business was transacted except as to myself.

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