Cassius Dio Cocceianus.

Dio's Roman history, with an English translation online

. (page 12 of 35)
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the senatorial order who are actually members of the
senate,^ their children, and their wives, if ever they
are charged with a serious offence for which the
penalty on conviction would be disfranchisement,
exile, or even death, that you should bring the
matter before the senate without prejudgment against
the accused, and should commit to that body the
entire decision uninfluenced by your opinion. The
purpose of this is, that the guilty, thus tried by a
jury consisting solely of their peers, may be punished
without there being any resentment against you, and
that the others, seeing this, may mend their ways
through fear of being publicly pilloried themselves.

^^ These suggestions have to do only with those
offences regarding which laws have been established
and judgments are rendered in accordance with these
laws. For as to a charge that some one has vilified
you or in some other way has used unseemly language
regarding you, I would have you neither listen to
the accuser nor follow up the accusation. For it is
disgraceful for you to believe that any one has
wantonly insulted you if you are indeed doing no

* As distinguished from those of the senatorial order who
have not yet gained admission to the senate.


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9 el. &p Se Srj Tt9 e'm/3ov\€veiv <rot alTiav Xd^rf
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{aTOTTov ydp tov avTov Kal xaTijyopop koI Slku-
CTifV yiyveadaC)^ viro^ Sk Sff ttjv l3ov\rjv avTov
dyayobv dTroXoyrja-aaOal re ttoltjo-ov, k&v eKerfX^V>
KoKaaov p>eTpidaa<i &^ olov t€ iaTi to TiprnpripM,

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\€V€C t£ (hirXca-p^ivq)' Kal p,6v(o<; &v ovTa)<; avT&v
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Xeyco Be TavTa %ft)/>l9 rj ec t49 (TTpdT€vp,d ti i')((ov
1 o0T« M, om. V. a ^h Bs., M VM. -

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wrong and are but conferring benefits upon all, and b.o. 29
it is only those who are ruling badly who believe
such things ; for they draw evidence from their
own conscience of the credibility of the alleged
slanders. And it is, furthermore, a dangerous thing
even to show anger at such imputations (for if they
are true, it were better not to be angry, and if they
are false, it were better to pretend not to be angry),
since many a man in times past has, by adopting
this course, caused to be circulated against him-
self scandals far more numerous and more difficult
to bear. This, then, is my advice concerning those
who are accused of calumniating you ; for you
should be superior to any insult and too exalted to
be reached by it, and you should never allow your-
self even to imagine,* or lead others to imagine, that
it is possible for any one to treat you with contumely,
since you desire that men shall think of you, as they
do of the gods, that your sanctity is inviolable. If,
however, any one is accused of plotting against you
(and such a thing might also happen), refrain, in his
case also, from either giving judgment yourself or
prejudging the charge (for it is absurd that the
same man should be both accuser and judge), but
bring him before the senate and let him plead his
defence there, and, if he is convicted, punish him,
moderating the sentence as far as possible, in order
that belief in his guilt may be fostered. For most
men are very reluctant to believe that an unarmed
man is plotting against one who is armed ; and the
only way you can win them to the belief is by
showing, so far as possible, neither resentment nor
the desire to exact the utmost when you inflict the
penalty. But I make an exception to this rule in


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J3 "At/cafe he koX avro^ tSia rd t€ €<f>i<TipM /cal
rd dvaTTopiTLpbay oaa dv irapd re t&v piet^ovayv

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the case of a commander of an army who openly b.c. 29
revolts ; for of 4 course it is fitting that such an one
should not be tried at all, but chastised as a public

" These matters, then, should be referred by you
to the senate, and also those others which are of the
greatest impoijtiance to the state. For interests which
are shared m common should be administered in
common. Besides, it is doubtless a quality implanted
by nature in all men that they take delight in any
marks of esteem received from a superior which
imply that they are his equals, and that they not .
only approve of all decisions made by another in
consultation with themselves, as being their own
decisions, but also submit to them as having been
imposed by their own free choice. Therefore I say
that such business ought to be brought before the
senate. Furthermore, all the senators alike, that is,
all who are present, should vote on all other matters ;
but when one of their own number is accused, not
all of them should do so, unless the one who is on
trial is not yet sitting as a senator or is still in the
ranks of the ex-quaestors. For it is absurd that one
who has not yet been a tribune or an aedile should
cast a vote against men who have held those offices,
or, worse yet, that any one of the latter should vote
against men who have been praetors, or one of these
last against men who have been consuls. Rather, let
the ex-consuls alone have authority to render deci-
sions in the case of all senators, and let the rest of the
senators vote only in the cases of senators of a rank
equal or inferior to their own.

^^But do you judge by yourself alone the cases which
come to you on appeal or reference from the higher


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4 fiyep^ovlas e^Lcoai, Ta9 p^evTOi yvdofjba^ avT&v p^ *
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oeovTac, Btairwddvov, tva pJq to?9 TrporjKOval ^
a<f)Ct}V €(f>€7r6fJL€Voc KaTOKV&ai Trappijcnd^eaOac,
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OVTCO yap av pAXcaTa ttjv CKdaTOV yvcop^rjv BiaKpc-

^ Kp7ve R. Steph., Kplvai VM.

* 8^R. Steph., SetVM.

^ irpoavyyiyv6ix€voi Xyl., vpoaffvYyiyv6ix^voi VM.

* 11^ M, om. V.

* vpoiiKovai Rk., vpoa4\Kovffi VM.


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officials and the procurators, from the j)refect of the b.c. 29
city, the sub-censor, and from the prefects in charge
respectively of the grain-supply and the night- watch.^
For none of these should have such absolute juris-
diction and final authority that an appeal cannot
be made from him. Do you, therefore, pass upon
these cases and those which involve knights and
centurions recruited from the levies and the foremost
private citizens, when they are defendants on a charge
punishable by death or disfranchisement. For such
cases should be conunitted to you alone, and for the
reasons mentioned no one else should judge them
solely upon his own responsibility. Indeed, in the
rendering of decisions generally you should be brought
into consultation, invariably by the senators and
knights of highest rank and also, as occasion calls for
one or another, by the other senators who are ex-
consuls and ex-praetors, the object being twofold :
that you on your part may first become more in-
timately acquainted with their characters and may
then be able to put them to the right kind of
employment, and that they, on their part, may first
become familiar with your habits of mind and your
plans before they go out to govern the provinces.
Do not, however, ask for a public expression of their
opinion on any matter that requires an unusually
careful consideration, lest they hesitate to speak
freely, since in giving their opinions they follow
their superiors in rank ; make them, rather, write
their opinions on tablets. These you should read in
private, that they may become known to no one else,
and should then order the writing to be erased forth-
with. For the best way for you to get at each inan's

* Pixiefectus annonae and pra^ectua vigilum.


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8 TO S' avTo TOVTO Kal iirl Toi)v woXe/j^LK&p <f>v\aTT€,
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yovv Tov Trapd r&v to KpaTO^; cxoptodv if>06vov

^ u><p€\i\a'Q R. Steph., ui<pt\i^au VM, w^cXijO^o-i} flor.

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precise opinion would be to give him the certainty b.o. 29
that his vote cannot be detected among the rest.

" Moreover, for your judicial work and your cor-
respondence, to help you attend to the decrees of
the states and the petitions of private individuals,
and for all other business which belongs to the ad-
ministration of the empire, you must have men
chosen from the knights to be your helpers and
assistants. For all the details of administration will
move along more easily in this way, and you will
neither err through reljdng upon your own judg-
ment nor become exhausted through relying upon
your own efforts. Grant to every one who wishes
to offer you advice, on any matter whatever, the
right to speak freely and without fear of the con-
sequences ; for if you are pleased with what he says
you will be greatly benefited, and if you are not
convinced it will do you no harm. Those who win
your favourable opinion for their suggestions you
should both commend and honour, since you your-
self will gain credit through their discoveries ; but
do not treat with disrespect or criticise those who
fail of your approval, since it is their intentions that
you should consider, and their lack of success
should not call forth your censure. Guard against
this same mistake in matters of warfare, also ; give
way neither to anger against a man for an unin-
tentional misfortune nor to jealousy for a piece of
good fortune, that all may zealously and gladly
incur danger for your sake, confident that if they
meet with any reverse they will not be punished
for it and that if they gain success they will not
have snares laid for them. There have been many,
at any rate, who through fear of jealousy on the


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pivTOi Kal ;)^aX€7ra>9 i^cTa^e, dXX* oaa pev &v vtf>*

* 8^ M, om. V flor. * rifiuplais flor., om. VM.

* ffeavr^ flor. B, iavr^ VM flor. A.

* ^ofinBiiVovrai VM, ^ofiiiaovrai flor.


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part of those in power have chosen to accept defeat
rather than achieve success, and as a result have
gained safety for themselves while inflicting the loss
upon their rulers. Therefore, since you yourself
stand to reap the major part of the fruits of both
outcomes, the failures as well as the successes, you
should never consent to become jealous, nominally
of others, but really of yourself.

^^ Whatever you wish your subjects to think and
do, this you should always say and do yourself. In
this way you will be educating them, rather than in-
timidating them through the punishments prescribed
by the laws. The former policy inspires zeal, the
latter fear; and one finds it easier to imitate that
which is good when he sees it actually practised
than to avoid that which is evil when he hears it
forbidden by mere words. Be scrupulous yourself
in all your actions, showing no mercy to yourself,
in the full assurance that all men will forthwith
learn of whatever you say or do. For you will live
as it were in a theatre in which the spectators are
the whole world ; and it will not be possible for you
to escape detection if you make even the most
trivial mistake. Indeed, you will never be alone,
but always in the company of many when you do
anything ; and since the remainder of mankind
somehow take the keenest delight in prjring into
the conduct of their rulers, if once they ascertain
that you are recommending to them one course but
are yoiu"self taking another, instead of fearing your
threats they will imitate your actions.

^^ You should, of course, supervise the lives of your
subjects, but do not scrutinise them with too much
rigour. Sit in judgment upon all offences reported


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v€vofJLcafJL€va irdvra avyxeovai KaX KarairaTovai,
Kal fwvai^ Ta?9 t^9 <f>va€(o^ opjuu^ SovXevovai.
xdK TOVTOV ovT€ TO irdvTa^ avToif^ KoXd^eiv
paSiov, ovT€ TO Trepcopdv ^vepw riva^ daeXyai-
vovra^ €V7rp€7rh yiyverai*

9 "Ta fiev Srj ovv dfjuapr^jfiaTa tcov dv0p(O7rcov
TOVTOV aoi TOV Tpoirov, TrXrjv t&v irdvv dyr^KiaTcov,

* Kp7p€ R. Steph., Kpivai VM.

* /U^ Koi M, KOi /xii V.


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to you by others, but act as if you were not even b.c. 29
aware of offences concerning which no one has made
accusation — except in the case of trespasses against
the public interest. These ought, of course, to re-
ceive proper attention, even if no one files a charge ;
but as to private shortcomings, while you should
indeed have knowledge of them, in order that you
may avoid making a mistake some day by employing
an unsuitable person as your agent in some matter,
yet you should not go so far as to convict those who
are guilty of them. For human nature often tempts
men to commit many a violation of the law, and if
you were to prosecute such offences rigorously, you
would leave unpunished few or none of the offenders;
but if in a kindly spirit you mix reasonableness with
the prescriptions of the law, you may succeed in
bringing the offenders to their senses. The law,
you know, though it of necessity makes its punish-
ments severe, cannot always conquer nature. And
so in the case of some men, if they think that their
sins have not been discovered, or if they have been
reproved but not unduly, they reform, either be-
cause they feel disgraced at having been found out,
or because their self-respect keeps them from falling
again ; whereas, if they have been publicly exposed
and have lost all sense of shame, or have been
chastised unduly, they overturn and trample under
foot all the conventions of the law and become
wholly slaves to the impulses of nature. Therefore
it is neither easy to punish offenders invariably in
all cases nor is it seemly to allow them in particular
cases to flaunt their wickedness openly.

*^Now this is the way I advise you to deal with
men's shortcomings, with the exception of those


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persons who are utterly incorrigible ; and you should b.c. 29
honour their good actions even beyond the merits of
the deeds themselves. For you can best induce men
to refrain from evil ways by kindness^ and to desire
better ways by liberality. You need have no fear
that you will ever lack either money or the other
means of rewarding those who do good deeds. On
the contrary, I fancy that those who will deserve
your favours will prove far too few, seeing that you
hold empire over so vast an extent of land and sea.
Nor need you fear that any who have received your
benefactions will ever act imgratefrilly ; for nothing
so captivates and conciliates a man, be he foreigner
or foe, as being not only the object of no wrongs
but, in addition, the recipient of kindness.

"As regards your subjects, then, you should so
conduct yourself, in my opinion. So far as you your-
self are concerned, permit no exceptional or prodigal
distinction to be given you, through word or deed,
either by the senate or by any one else. For whereas
the honour which you confer upon others lends

Online LibraryCassius Dio CocceianusDio's Roman history, with an English translation → online text (page 12 of 35)