Marcus Tullius Cicero.

The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 online

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He showed that he would have done so, by his conduct in cases where he
had the power, when he restored Sextus Pompeius to the state, a great
ornament to the republic, and a most illustrious monument of his
clemency. Sad was that picture, melancholy was the destiny then of the
Roman people. For after Pompeius the father was dead, he who was
the light of the Roman people, the son too, who was wholly like his
father, was also slain. But all these calamities appear to me to have
been effaced by the kindness of the immortal gods, Sextus Pompeius
being preserved to the republic.

XV. For which cause, reasonable and important as it is and because
Marcus Lepidus, by his humanity and wisdom, has changed a most
dangerous and extensive civil war into peace and concord, I give my
vote, that a resolution of the senate be drawn up in these words:

"Since the affairs of the republic have repeatedly been well and
prosperously conducted by Marcus Lepidus, imperator, and Pontifex
Maximus, and since the Roman people is fully aware that kingly power
is very displeasing to him; and since by his exertions, and virtue,
and prudence, and singular clemency and humanity, a most bitter civil
war has been extinguished; and Sextus Pompeius Magnus, the son of
Cnaeus, having submitted to the authority of this order and laid down
his arms, and, in accordance with the perfect good-will of the senate
and people of Rome, has been restored to the state by Marcus Lepidus,
imperator, and Pontifex Maximus; the senate and people of Rome, in
return for the important and numerous services of Marcus Lepidus
to the republic, declares that it places great hopes of future
tranquillity and peace and concord, in his virtue, authority, and good
fortune; and the senate and people of Rome will ever remember his
services to the republic; and it is decreed by the vote of this order,
That a gilt equestrian statue be erected to him in the Rostra, or in
whatever other place in the forum he pleases."

And this honour, O conscript fathers, appears to me a very great one,
in the first place, because it is just; - for it is not merely given
on account of our hopes of the future, but it is paid, as it were,
in requital of his ample services already done. Nor are we able to
mention any instance of this honour having been conferred on any one
by the senate by their own free and voluntary judgment before.

XVI. I come now to Caius Caesar, O conscript fathers; if he had not
existed, which of us could have been alive now? That most intemperate
of men, Antonius, was flying from Brundusium to the city, burning with
hatred, with a disposition hostile to all good men, with an army. What
was there to oppose to his audacity and wickedness? We had not as yet
any generals, or any forces. There was no public council, no liberty;
our necks were at the mercy of his nefarious cruelty; we were all
preparing to have recourse to flight, though flight itself had no
escape for us. Who was it - what god was it, who at that time gave to
the Roman people this godlike young man, who, while every means
for completing our destruction seemed open to that most pernicious
citizen, rising up on a sudden, beyond every one's hope, completed
an army fit to oppose to the fury of Marcus Antonius before any one
suspected that he was thinking of any such step? Great honours were
paid to Cnaeus Pompeius when he was a young man, and deservedly; for he
came to the assistance of the republic; but he was of a more vigorous
age, and more calculated to meet the eager requirements of soldiers
seeking a general. He had also been already trained in other kinds
of war. For the cause of Sylla was not agreeable to all men. The
multitude of the proscribed, and the enormous calamities that fell on
so many municipal towns, show this plainly. But Caesar, though many
years younger, armed veterans who were now eager to rest; he has
embraced that cause which was most agreeable to the senate, to the
people, to all Italy, - in short, to gods and men. And Pompeius came as
a reinforcement to the extensive command and victorious army of Lucius
Sylla; Caesar had no one to join himself to. He, of his own accord, was
the author and executor of his plan of levying an army, and arraying
a defence for us. Pompeius found the whole Picene district hostile to
the party of his adversaries; but Caesar has levied an army against
Antonius from men who were Antonius's own friends, but still greater
friends to liberty. It was owing to the influence of Pompeius that
Sylla was enabled to act like a king. It is by the protection afforded
us by Caesar that the tyranny of Antonius has been put down.

Let us then confer on Caesar a regular military command, without which
the military affairs cannot be directed, the army cannot be held
together, war cannot be waged. Let him be made proprietor with all the
privileges which have ever been attached to that appointment. That
honour, although it is a great one for a man of his age, still is
not merely of influence as giving dignity, but it confers powers
calculated to meet the present emergency. Therefore, let us seek for
honours for him which we shall not easily find at the present day.

XVII. But I hope that we and the Roman people shall often have an
opportunity of complimenting and honouring this young man. But at the
present moment I give my vote that we should pass a decree in this

"As Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, Pontiff and Propraetor, has at a
most critical period of the republic exhorted the veteran soldiers to
defend the liberty of the Roman people, and has enlisted them in his
army, and as the Martial legion and the fourth legion, with great zeal
for the republic, and with admirable unanimity, under the guidance and
authority of Caius Caesar, have defended and are defending the republic
and the liberty of the Roman people, and as Caius Caesar, propraetor,
has gone with his army as a reinforcement to the province of Gaul, has
made cavalry, and archers, and elephants, obedient to himself and to
the Roman people, and has, at a most critical time for the republic,
come to the aid of the safety and dignity of the Roman people, - on
these accounts, it seems good to the senate that Caius Caesar, the son
of Caius, pontiff and propraetor, shall be a senator, and shall deliver
his opinions from the bench occupied by men of praetorian rank, and
that, on occasion of his offering himself for any magistracy, he shall
be considered of the same legal standing and qualification as if he
had been quaestor the preceding year."

For what reason can there be, O conscript fathers, why we should
not wish him to arrive at the highest honours at as early an age as
possible? For when, by the laws fixing the age at which men might be
appointed to the different magistracies our ancestors fixed a more
mature age for the consulship, they were influenced by fears of the
precipitation of youth, Caius Caesar, at his first entrance into life,
has shown us that, in the case of his eminent and unparalleled virtue,
we have no need to wait for the progress of age. Therefore our
ancestors, those old men, in the most ancient times, had no laws
regulating the age for the different offices, it was ambition which
caused them to be passed many years afterwards, in order that there
might be among men of the same age different steps for arriving at
honours. And it has often happened that a disposition of great natural
virtue has been lost before it had any opportunity of benefiting the

But among the ancients, the Rulii, the Decii, the Corvim, and many
others, and in more modern times the elder Africanus and Titus
Flaminius were made consuls very young, and performed such exploits as
greatly to extend the empire of the Roman people, and to embellish its
name. What more? Did not the Macedonian Alexander, having begun to
perform mighty deeds from his earliest youth, die when he was only in
his thirty-third year? And that age is ten years less than that fixed
by our laws for a man to be eligible for the consulship. From which it
may be plainly seen that the progress of virtue is often swifter than
that of age.

XVIII. For as to the fear which those men, who are enemies of Caesar,
pretend to entertain, there is not the slightest reason to apprehend
that he will be unable to restrain and govern himself, or that he will
be so elated by the honours which he receives from us as to use his
power with out moderation. It is only natural, O conscript fathers,
that the man who has learnt to appreciate real glory, and who feels
that he is considered by the senate and by the Roman knights and the
whole Roman people a citizen who is dear to, and a blessing to the
republic, should think nothing whatever deserving of being compared to
this glory. Would that it had happened to Caius Caesar - the father,
I mean - when he was a young man, to be beloved by the senate and by
every virtuous citizen, but, having neglected to aim at that, he
wasted all the power of genius which he had in a most brilliant
degree, in a capricious pursuit of popular favour. Therefore, as he
had not sufficient respect for the senate and the virtuous part of the
citizens, he opened for himself that path for the extension of his
power, which the virtue of a free people was unable to bear.

But the principles of his son are widely different; who is not only
beloved by every one, but in the greatest degree by the most virtuous
men. In him is placed all our hope of liberty, from him already has
our safety been received, for him the highest honours are sought out
and prepared. While therefore we are admiring his singular prudence,
can we at the same time fear his folly? For what can be more foolish
than to prefer useless power, such influence as brings envy in
its train, and a rash and slippery ambition of reigning, to real,
dignified, solid glory? Has he seen this truth as a boy, and when he
has advanced in age will he cease to see it? "But he is an enemy to
some most illustrious and excellent citizens." That circumstance ought
not to cause any fear Caesar has sacrificed all those enmities to the
republic; he had made the republic his judge; he has made her the
directress of all his counsels and actions. For he is come to the
service of the republic in order to strengthen her, not to overturn
her. I am well acquainted with all the feelings of the young man:
there is nothing dearer to him than the republic, nothing which he
considers of more weight than your authority; nothing which he desires
more than the approbation of virtuous men; nothing which he accounts
sweeter than genuine glory.

Wherefore you not only ought not to fear anything from him, but you
ought to expect greater and better things still. Nor ought you to
apprehend with respect to a man who has already gone forward to
release Decimus Brutus from a siege, that the recollection of his
domestic injury will dwell in his bosom, and have more weight with
him than the safety of the city. I will venture even to pledge my own
faith, O conscript fathers, to you, and to the Roman people, and to
the republic, which in truth, if no necessity compelled me to do so,
I would not venture to do, and in doing which on slight grounds, I
should be afraid of giving rise to a dangerous opinion of my rashness
in a most important business; but I do promise, and pledge myself, and
undertake, O conscript fathers, that Caius Caesar will always be such
a citizen as he is this day, and as we ought above all things to wish
and desire that he may turn out.

XIX. And as this is the case, I shall consider that I have said enough
at present about Caesar.

Nor do I think that we ought to pass over Lucius Egnatuleius, a most
gallant and wise and firm citizen, and one thoroughly attached to the
republic, in silence; but that we ought to give him our testimony to
his admirable virtue, because it was he who led the fourth legion to
Caesar, to be a protection to the consuls, and senate, and people of
Rome, and the republic. And for these acts I give my vote:

"That it be made lawful for Lucius Egnatuleius to stand for, and be
elected to, and discharge the duties of any magistracy, three years
before the legitimate time."

And by this motion, O conscript fathers, Lucius Egnatuleius does not
get so much actual advantage as honour. For in a case like this it is
quite sufficient to be honourably mentioned.

But concerning the army of Caius Caesar, I give my vote for the passing
of a decree in this form:

"The senate decrees that the veteran soldiers who have defended and
are defending [lacuna] of Caesar, pontiff [lacuna] and the authority of
this order, should, and their children after them, have an exemption
from military service. And that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the
consuls, one or both of them, as they think fit, shall inquire what
land there is in those colonies in which the veteran soldiers have
been settled, which is occupied in defiance of the provisions of the
Julian law, in order that that may be divided among these veterans.
That they shall institute a separate inquiry about the Campanian
district, and devise a plan for increasing the advantages enjoyed by
these veteran soldiers; and with respect to the Martial legion, and
to the fourth legion, and to those soldiers of the second and
thirty-fifth legions who have come over to Caius Pansa and Aulus
Hirtius the consuls, and have given in their names, because the
authority of the senate and the liberty of the Roman people is and
always has been most dear to them, the senate decrees that they and
their children shall have exemption from military service, except in
the case of any Gallic and Italian sedition; and decrees further, that
those legions shall have their discharge when this war is terminated;
and that whatever sum of money Caius Caesar, pontiff and propraetor, has
promised to the soldiers of those legions individually, shall be paid
to them. And that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, one or
both of them, as it seems good to them, shall make an estimate of the
land which can be distributed without injury to private individuals;
and that land shall be given and assigned to the soldiers of the
Martial legion and of the fourth legion, in the largest shares in
which land has ever been given and assigned to soldiers."

I have now spoken, O consuls, on every point concerning which you have
submitted a motion to us; and if the resolutions which I have proposed
be decreed without delay, and seasonably, you will the more easily
prepare those measures which the present time and emergency demand.
But instant action is necessary. And if we had adopted that earlier,
we should, as I have often said, now have no war at all.



In respect of the honours proposed by Cicero in the last speech the
senate agreed with him, voting to Octavius honours beyond any that
Cicero had proposed. But they were much divided about the question
of sending an embassy to Antonius, and the consuls, seeing that a
majority agreed with Cicero, adjourned the debate till the next day.
The discussion lasted three days, and the senate would at last have
adopted all Cicero's measures if one of the tribunes, Salvius, had not
put his veto on them. So that at last the embassy was ordered to
be sent, and Servius Sulpicius, Lucius Piso, and Lucius Philippus,
appointed as the ambassadors, but they were charged merely to
order Antonius to abandon the siege of Mutina, and to desist from
hostilities against the province of Gaul, and further, to proceed to
Decimus Brutus in Mutina, and to give him and his army the thanks of
the senate and people.

The length of the debates roused the curiosity of the people, who,
being assembled in the forum to learn the result, called on Cicero to
come forth and give them an account of what had been done - on which he
went to the rostra, accompanied by Publius Appuleius the tribune, and
related to them all that had passed in the following speech:

I. I imagine that you have heard, O Romans, what has been done in the
senate, and what has been the opinion delivered by each individual.
For the matter which has been in discussion ever since the first of
January, has been just brought to a conclusion, with less severity
indeed than it ought to have been, but still in a manner not
altogether unbecoming. The war has been subjected to a delay, but
the cause has not been removed. Wherefore, as to the question which
Publius Appuleius - a man united to me by many kind offices and by the
closest intimacy, and firmly attached to your interests - has asked me,
I will answer in such a manner that you may be acquainted with the
transactions at which you were not present.

The cause which prompted our most fearless and excellent consuls to
submit a motion on the first of January, concerning the general state
of the republic, arose from the decree which the senate passed by my
advice on the nineteenth of December. On that day, O Romans, were
the foundations of the republic first laid. For then, after a long
interval, the senate was free in such a manner that you too might
become free. On which day, indeed, - even if it had been to bring to me
the end of my life, - I received a sufficient reward for my exertions,
when you all with one heart and one voice cried out together, that
the republic had been a second time saved by me. Stimulated by so
important and so splendid a decision of yours in my favour, I came
into the senate on the first of January, with the feeling that I was
bound to show my recollection of the character which you had imposed
upon me, and which I had to sustain.

Therefore, when I saw that a nefarious war was waged against the
republic, I thought that no delay ought to be interposed to our
pursuit of Marcus Antonius; and I gave my vote that we ought to pursue
with war that most audacious man, who, having committed many atrocious
crimes before, was at this moment attacking a general of the Roman
people, and besieging your most faithful and gallant colony; and that
a state of civil war ought to be proclaimed; and I said further, that
my opinion was that a suspension of the ordinary forms of justice
should be declared, and that the garb of war should be assumed by
the citizens, in order that all men might apply themselves with more
activity and energy to avenging the injuries of the republic, if they
saw that all the emblems of a regular war had been adopted by the
senate. Therefore, this opinion of mine, O Romans, prevailed so much
for three days, that although no division was come to, still all,
except a very few, appeared inclined to agree with me. But to-day - I
know not owing to what circumstance - the senate was more indulgent.
For the majority decided on our making experiment, by means of
ambassadors, how much influence the authority of the senate and your
unanimity will have upon Antonius.

II. I am well aware, O Romans, that this decision is disapproved of by
you; and reasonably too. For to whom are we sending ambassadors? Is
it not to him who, after having dissipated and squandered the public
money, and imposed laws on the Roman people by violence and in
violation of the auspices, - after having put the assembly of the
people to flight and besieged the senate, sent for the legions from
Brundusium to oppress the republic? who, when deserted by them, has
invaded Gaul with a troop of banditti? who is attacking Brutus? who is
besieging Mutina? How can you offer conditions to, or expect equity
from, or send an embassy to, or, in short, have anything in common
with, this gladiator? although, O Romans, it is not an embassy, but a
denunciation of war if he does not obey. For the decree has been drawn
up as if ambassadors were being sent to Hannibal. For men are sent to
order him not to attack the consul elect, not to besiege Mutina, not
to lay waste the province, not to enlist troops, but to submit himself
to the power of the senate and people of Rome. No doubt he is a
likely man to obey this injunction, and to submit to the power of the
conscript fathers and to yours, who has never even had any mastery
over himself. For what has he ever done that showed any discretion,
being always led away wherever his lust, or his levity, or his frenzy,
or his drunkenness has hurried him? He has always been under the
dominion of two very dissimilar classes of men, pimps and robbers; he
is so fond of domestic adulteries and forensic murders, that he would
rather obey a most covetous woman than the senate and people of Rome.

III. Therefore, I will do now before you what I have just done in the
senate. I call you to witness, I give notice, I predict beforehand,
that Marcus Antonius will do nothing whatever of those things which
the ambassadors are commissioned to command him to do; but that he
will lay waste the lands, and besiege Mutina and enlist soldiers,
wherever he can. For he is a man who has at all times despised the
judgment and authority of the senate, and your inclinations and power.
Will he do what it has been just now decreed that he shall do, - lead
his army back across the Rubicon, which is the frontier of Gaul, and
yet at the same time not come nearer Rome than two hundred miles? will
he obey this notice? will he allow himself to be confined by the river
Rubicon and by the limit of two hundred miles? Antonius is not that
sort of man. For if he had been, he would never have allowed matters
to come to such a pass, as for the senate to give him notice, as
it did to Hannibal at the beginning of the Punic war not to attack
Saguntum. But what ignominy it is to be called away from Mutina, and
at the same time to be forbidden to approach the city as if he were
some fatal conflagration! what an opinion is this for the senate
to have of a man! What? As to the commission which is given to the
ambassadors to visit Decimus Brutus and his soldiers, and to inform
them that their excellent zeal in behalf of, and services done to the
republic, are acceptable to the senate and people of Rome, and that
that conduct shall tend to their great glory and to their great
honour; do you think that Antonius will permit the ambassadors to
enter Mutina? and to depart from thence in safety? He never will allow
it, believe me. I know the violence of the man, I know his impudence,
I know his audacity.

Nor, indeed, ought we to think of him as of a human being, but as of a
most ill-omened beast. And as this is the case, the decree which
the senate has passed is not wholly improper. The embassy has some
severity in it; I only wish it had no delay. For as in the conduct of
almost every affair slowness and procrastination are hateful, so above
all things does this war require promptness of action. We must assist
Decimus Brutus; we must collect all our forces from all quarters;
we cannot lose a single hour in effecting the deliverance of such
a citizen without wickedness. Was it not in his power, if he had
considered Antonius a consul, and Gaul the province of Antonius, to
have given over the legions and the province to Antonius? and to
return home himself? and to celebrate a triumph? and to be the first
man in this body to deliver his opinion, until he entered on his
magistracy? What was the difficulty of doing that? But as he
remembered that he was Brutus, and that he was born for your freedom,
not for his own tranquillity, what else did he do but - as I may almost
say - put his own body in the way to prevent Antonius from entering
Gaul? Ought we then to send ambassadors to this man, or legions?
However, we will say nothing of what is past. Let the ambassadors
hasten, as I see that they are about to do. Do you prepare your
robes of war. For it has been decreed, that, if he does not obey
the authority of the senate, we are all to betake our selves to our
military dress. And we shall have to do so. He will never obey. And we
shall lament that we have lost so many days, when we might have been
doing something.

IV I have no fear, O Romans, that when Antonius hears that I have
asserted, both in the senate and in the assembly of the people, that
he never will submit himself to the power of the senate, he will, for
the sake of disproving my words, and making me to appeal to have had
no foresight, alter his behaviour and obey the senate. He will never
do so. He will not grudge me this part of my reputation, he will
prefer letting me be thought wise by you to being thought modest
himself. Need I say more? Even if he were willing to do so himself,

Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroThe Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 → online text (page 11 of 51)