Marcus Tullius Cicero.

The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 online

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to save you, thinking you would show more sense than you do! O
how vain have at all times been my too true predictions of the future!
I told those deliverers of ours in the Capitol, when they wished me to
go to you to exhort you to defend the republic, that as long as you
were in fear you would promise everything, but that as soon as you
had emancipated yourself from alarm you would be yourself again.
Therefore, while the rest of the men of consular rank were going
backwards and forwards to you, I adhered to my opinion, nor did I see
you at all that day, or the next; nor did I think it possible for an
alliance between virtuous citizens and a most unprincipled enemy to be
made, so as to last, by any treaty or engagement whatever. The third
day I came into the temple of Tellus, even then very much against my
will, as armed men were blockading all the approaches. What a day was
that for you, O Marcus Antonius! Although you showed yourself all on a
sudden an enemy to me; still I pity you for having envied yourself.

XXXVI. What a man, O ye immortal gods! and how great a man might
you have been, if you had been able to preserve the inclination you
displayed that day; - we should still have peace which was made then by
the pledge of a hostage, a boy of noble birth, the grandson of Marcus
Bambalio. Although it was fear that was then making you a good
citizen, which is never a lasting teacher of duty; your own audacity,
which never departs from you as long as you are free from fear, has
made you a worthless one. Although even at that time, when they
thought you an excellent man, though I indeed differed from that
opinion, you behaved with the greatest wickedness while presiding at
the funeral of the tyrant, if that ought to be called a funeral. All
that fine panegyric was yours, that commiseration was yours, that
exhortation was yours. It was you - you, I say - who hurled those
firebrands, both those with which your friend himself was nearly
burnt, and those by which the house of Lucius Bellienus was set
on fire and destroyed. It was you who let loose those attacks of
abandoned men, slaves for the most part, which we repelled by violence
and our own personal exertions; it was you who set them on to attack
our houses. And yet you, as if you had wiped off all the soot and
smoke in the ensuing days, carried those excellent resolutions in the
Capitol, that no document conferring any exemption, or granting any
favour, should be published after the ides of March. You recollect
yourself, what you said about the exiles; you know what you said
about the exemption; but the best thing of all was, that you for ever
abolished the name of the dictatorship in the republic. Which act
appeared to show that you had conceived such a hatred of kingly power
that you took away all fear of it for the future, on account of him
who had been the last dictator.

To other men the republic now seemed established, but it did not
appear so at all to me, as I was afraid of every sort of shipwreck,
as long as you were at the helm. Have I been deceived? or, was it
possible for that man long to continue unlike himself? While you were
all looking on, documents were fixed up over the whole Capitol, and
exemptions were being sold, not merely to individuals, but to entire
states. The freedom of the city was also being given now not to single
persons only, but to whole provinces. Therefore, if these acts are to
stand, - and stand they cannot if the republic stands too, - then, O
conscript fathers, you have lost whole provinces; and not the revenues
only, but the actual empire of the Roman people has been diminished by
a market this man held in his own house.

XXXVII. Where are the seven hundred millions of sesterces which were
entered in the account-books which are in the temple of Ops? a sum
lamentable indeed, as to the means by which it was procured, but still
one which, if it were not restored to those to whom it belonged, might
save us from taxes. And how was it, that when you owed forty millions
of sesterces on the fifteenth of March, you had ceased to owe them
by the first of April? Those things are quite countless which were
purchased of different people, not without your knowledge; but there
was one excellent decree posted up in the Capitol affecting king
Deiotarus, a most devoted friend to the Roman people. And when that
decree was posted up, there was no one who, amid all his indignation,
could restrain his laughter. For who ever was a more bitter enemy to
another than Caesar was to Deiotarus? He was as hostile to him as he
was to this order, to the equestrian order, to the people of Massilia,
and to all men whom he knew to look on the republic of the Roman
people with attachment. But this man, who neither present nor absent
could ever obtain from him any favour or justice while he was alive,
became quite an influential man with him when he was dead. When
present with him in his house he had called for him though he was his
host, he had made him give in his accounts of his revenue, he had
exacted money from him; he had established one of his Greek retainers
in his tetrarchy, and he had taken Armenia from him, which had been
given to him by the senate. While he was alive he deprived him of all
these things; now that he is dead, he gives them back again. And in
what words? At one time he says, "that it appears to him to be just,
..." at another, "that it appears not to be unjust...." What a strange
combination of words! But while alive, (I know this, for I always
supported Deiotarus, who was at a distance,) he never said that
anything which we were asking for, for him, appeared just to him. A
bond for ten millions of sesterces was entered into in the women's
apartment, (where many things have been sold, and are still
being sold,) by his ambassadors, well-meaning men, but timid and
inexperienced in business, without my advice or that of the rest of
the hereditary friends of the monarch. And I advise you to consider
carefully what you intend to do with reference to this bond. For the
king himself, of his own accord, without waiting for any of Caesar's
memoranda, the moment that he heard of his death, recovered his own
rights by his own courage and energy. He, like a wise man, knew that
this was always the law, that those men from whom the things which
tyrants had taken away had been taken, might recover them when the
tyrants were slain. No lawyer, therefore, not even he who is your
lawyer and yours alone, and by whose advice you do all these things,
will say that anything is due to you by virtue of that bond for those
things which had been recovered before that bond was executed. For he
did not purchase them of you; but, before you undertook to sell him
his own property, he had taken possession of it. He was a man - we,
indeed, deserve to be despised, who hate the author of the actions,
but uphold the actions themselves.

XXXVIII. Why need I mention the countless mass of papers, the
innumerable autographs which have been brought forward? writings of
which there are imitators who sell their forgeries as openly as if
they were gladiators' playbills. Therefore, there are now such heaps
of money piled up in that man's house, that it is weighed out instead
of being counted.[21] But how blind is avarice! Lately, too, a
document has been posted up by which the most wealthy cities of the
Cretans are released from tribute; and by which it is ordained that
after the expiration of the consulship of Marcus Brutus, Crete shall
cease to be a province. Are you in your senses? Ought you not to be
put in confinement? Was it possible for there really to be a decree
of Caesar's exempting Crete after the departure of Marcus Brutus, when
Brutus had no connexion whatever with Crete while Caesar was alive? But
by the sale of this decree (that you may not, O conscript fathers,
think it wholly ineffectual) you have lost the province of Crete.
There was nothing in the whole world which any one wanted to buy that
this fellow was not ready to sell.

Caesar too, I suppose, made the law about the exiles which you have
posted up. I do not wish to press upon any one in misfortune; I only
complain, in the first place, that the return of those men has had
discredit thrown upon it, whose cause Caesar judged to be different
from that of the rest; and in the second place, I do not know why you
do not mete out the same measure to all. For there can not be more
than three or four left. Why do not they who are in similar misfortune
enjoy a similar degree of your mercy? Why do you treat them as you
treated your uncle? about whom you refused to pass a law when you
were passing one about all the rest; and whom at the same time you
encouraged to stand for the censorship, and instigated him to a
canvass, which excited the ridicule and the complaint of every one.

But why did you not hold that comitia? Was it because a tribune of the
people announced that there had been an ill-omened flash of lightning
seen? When you have any interest of your own to serve, then auspices
are all nothing; but when it is only your friends who are concerned,
then you become scrupulous. What more? Did you not also desert him
in the matter of the septemvirate?[22] "Yes, for he interfered
with me." What were you afraid of? I suppose you were afraid that
you would be able to refuse him nothing if he were restored to the
full possession of his rights. You loaded him with every species
of insult, a man whom you ought to have considered in the place
of a father to you, if you had had any piety or natural affection
at all. You put away his daughter, your own cousin, having already
looked out and provided yourself beforehand with another. That
was not enough. You accused a most chaste woman of misconduct.
What can go beyond this? Yet you were not content with this.
In a very full senate held on the first of January, while your
uncle was present, you dared to say that this was your reason for
hatred of Dolabella, that you had ascertained that he had committed
adultery with your cousin and your wife. Who can decide whether it
was more shameless of you to make such profligate and such impious
statements against that unhappy woman in the senate, or more wicked to
make them against Dolabella, or more scandalous to make them in the
presence of her father, or more cruel to make them at all?

XXXIX. However, let us return to the subject of Caesar's written
papers. How were they verified by you? For the acts of Caesar were for
peace's sake confirmed by the senate; that is to say, the acts which
Caesar had really done, not those which Antonius said that Caesar had
done. Where do all these come from? By whom are they produced and
vouched for? If they are false, why are they ratified? If they are
true, why are they sold? But the vote which was come to enjoined you,
after the first of June, to make an examination of Caesar's acts with
the assistance of a council. What council did you consult? Whom did
you ever invite to help you? What was the first of June that you
waited for? Was it that day on which you, having travelled all
through the colonies where the veterans were settled, returned
escorted by a band of armed men?

Oh what a splendid progress of yours was that in the months of April
and May, when you attempted even to lead a colony to Capua! How you
made your escape from thence, or rather how you barely made your
escape, we all know. And now you are still threatening that city. I
wish you would try, and we should not then be forced to say "barely."
However, what a splendid progress of yours that was! Why need
I mention your preparations for banquets, why your frantic
hard-drinking? Those things are only an injury to yourself; these are
injuries to us. We thought that a great blow was inflicted on the
republic when the Campanian district was released from the payment of
taxes, in order to be given to the soldiery; but you have divided
it among your partners in drunkenness and gambling. I tell you, O
conscript fathers, that a lot of buffoons and actresses have been
settled in the district of Campania. Why should I now complain of what
has been done in the district of Leontini? Although formerly these
lands of Campania and Leontini were considered part of the patrimony
of the Roman people, and were productive of great revenue, and very
fertile. You gave your physician three thousand acres; what would you
have done if he had cured you? and two thousand to your master of
oratory; what would you have done if he had been able to make you
eloquent? However, let us return to your progress, and to Italy.

XL. You led a colony to Casilinum, a place to which Caesar had
previously led one. You did indeed consult me by letter about the
colony of Capua, (but I should have given you the same answer about
Casilinum,) whether you could legally lead a new colony to a place
where there was a colony already. I said that a new colony could not
be legally conducted to an existing colony, which had been established
with a due observance of the auspices, as long as it remained in a
flourishing state; but I wrote you word that new colonists might
be enrolled among the old ones. But you, elated and insolent,
disregarding all the respect due to the auspices, led a colony to
Casilinum, whither one had been previously led a few years before; in
order to erect your standard there, and to mark out the line of the
new colony with a plough. And by that plough you almost grazed the
gate of Capua, so as to diminish the territory of that flourishing
colony. After this violation of all religious observances, you hasten
off to the estate of Marcus Varro, a most conscientious and upright
man, at Casinum. By what right? with what face do you do this? By just
the same, you will say, as that by which you entered on the estates of
the heirs of Lucius Rubrius, or of the heirs of Lucius Turselius,
or on other innumerable possessions. If you got the right from any
auction, let the auction have all the force to which it is entitled;
let writings be of force, provided they are the writings of Caesar,
and not your own; writings by which you are bound, not those by which
you have released yourself from obligation.

But who says that the estate of Varro at Casinum was ever sold at all?
who ever saw any notice of that auction? Who ever heard the voice of
the auctioneer? You say that you sent a man to Alexandria to buy it
of Caesar. It was too long to wait for Caesar himself to come! But
whoever heard (and there was no man about whose safety more people
were anxious) that any part whatever of Varro's property had been
confiscated? What? what shall we say if Caesar even wrote you that you
were to give it up? What can be said strong enough for such enormous
impudence? Remove for a while those swords which we see around us. You
shall now see that the cause of Caesar's auctions is one thing, and
that of your confidence and rashness is another. For not only shall
the owner drive you from that estate, but any one of his friends, or
neighbours, or hereditary connexions, and any agent, will have the
right to do so.

XLI. But how many days did he spend revelling in the most scandalous
manner in that villa! From the third hour there was one scene of
drinking, gambling, and vomiting. Alas for the unhappy house itself!
how different a master from its former one has it fallen to the share
of! Although, how is he the master at all? but still by how different
a person has it been occupied! For Marcus Varro used it as a place of
retirement for his studies, not as a theatre for his lusts. What
noble discussions used to take place in that villa! what ideas were
originated there! what writings were composed there! The laws of the
Roman people, the memorials of our ancestors, the consideration of all
wisdom, and all learning, were the topics that used to be dwelt on
then; - but now, while you were the intruder there, (for I will not
call you the master,) every place was resounding with the voices of
drunken men; the pavements were floating with wine; the walls were
dripping; nobly-born boys were mixing with the basest hirelings;
prostitutes with mothers of families. Men came from Casinum, from
Aquinum, from Interamna to salute him. No one was admitted. That,
indeed, was proper. For the ordinary marks of respect were unsuited
to the most profligate of men. When going from thence to Rome he
approached Aquinum, a pretty numerous company (for it is a populous
municipality) came out to meet him. But he was carried through the
town in a covered litter, as if he had been dead. The people of
Aquinum acted foolishly, no doubt; but still they were in his road.
What did the people of Anagnia do? who, although they were out of
his line of road, came down to meet him, in order to pay him their
respects, as if he were consul. It is an incredible thing to say, but
still it was only too notorious at the time, that he returned nobody's
salutation; especially as he had two men of Anagnia with him, Mustela
and Laco; one of whom had the care of his swords, and the other of his
drinking cups.

Why should I mention the threats and insults with which he inveighed
against the people of Teanum Sidicinum, with which he harassed the men
of Puteoli, because they had adopted Caius Cassius and the Bruti as
their patrons? a choice dictated, in truth, by great wisdom, and great
zeal, benevolence, and affection for them; not by violence and force
of arms, by which men have been compelled to choose you, and Basilus,
and others like you both, - men whom no one would choose to have for
his own clients, much less to be their client himself.

XLII. In the mean time, while you yourself were absent, what a day was
that for your colleague when he overturned that tomb in the forum,
which you were accustomed to regard with veneration! And when that
action was announced to you, you - as is agreed upon by all who were
with you at the time - fainted away. What happened afterwards I know
not. I imagine that terror and arms got the mastery. At all events,
you dragged your colleague down from his heaven; and you rendered him,
not even now like yourself, but at all events very unlike his own
former self.

After that what a return was that of yours to Rome! How great was the
agitation of the whole city! We recollected Cinna being too powerful;
after him we had seen Sylla with absolute authority, and we had lately
beheld Caesar acting as king. There were perhaps swords, but they were
sheathed, and they were not very numerous. But how great and how
barbaric a procession is yours! Men follow you in battle array with
drawn swords; we see whole litters full of shields borne along. And
yet by custom, O conscript fathers, we have become inured and callous
to these things. When on the first of June we wished to come to the
senate, as it had been ordained, we were suddenly frightened and
forced to flee. But he, as having no need of a senate, did not miss
any of us, and rather rejoiced at our departure, and immediately
proceeded to those marvellous exploits of his. He who had defended the
memoranda of Caesar for the sake of his own profit, overturned the laws
of Caesar - and good laws too - for the sake of being able to agitate the
republic. He increased the number of years that magistrates were
to enjoy their provinces; moreover, though he was bound to be the
defender of the acts of Caesar, he rescinded them both with reference
to public and private transactions.

In public transactions nothing is more authoritative than law; in
private affairs the most valid of all deeds is a will. Of the laws,
some he abolished without giving the least notice; others he gave
notice of bills to abolish. Wills he annulled; though they have been
at all times held sacred even in the case of the very meanest of the
citizens. As for the statues and pictures which Caesar bequeathed to
the people, together with his gardens, those he carried away, some to
the house which belonged to Pompeius, and some to Scipio's villa.

XLIII. And are you then diligent in doing honour to Caesar's memory?
Do you love him even now that he is dead? What greater honour had he
obtained than that of having a holy cushion, an image, a temple, and
a priest? As then Jupiter, and Mars, and Quirinus have priests, so
Marcus Antonius is the priest of the god Julius. Why then do you
delay? why are not you inaugurated? Choose a day; select some one to
inaugurate you; we are colleagues; no one will refuse O you detestable
man, whether you are the priest of a tyrant, or of a dead man! I ask
you then, whether you are ignorant what day this is? Are you ignorant
that yesterday was the fourth day of the Roman games in the Circus?
and that you yourself submitted a motion to the people, that a fifth
day should be added besides, in honour of Caesar? Why are we not all
clad in the praetexta? Why are we permitting the honour which by your
law was appointed for Caesar to be deserted? Had you no objection to so
holy a day being polluted by the addition of supplications, while you
did not choose it to be so by the addition of ceremonies connected
with a sacred cushion? Either take away religion in every case, or
preserve it in every case.

You will ask whether I approve of his having a sacred cushion, a
temple and a priest? I approve of none of those things. But you,
who are defending the acts of Caesar, what reason can you give for
defending some, and disregarding others? unless, indeed, you choose
to admit that you measure everything by your own gain, and not by
his dignity. What will you now reply to these arguments? - (for I am
waiting to witness your eloquence; I knew your grandfather, who was
a most eloquent man, but I know you to be a more undisguised speaker
than he was; he never harangued the people naked; but we have seen
your breast, man, without disguise as you are.) Will you make any
reply to these statements? will you dare to open your mouth at all?
Can you find one single article in this long speech of mine, to which
you trust that you can make any answer? However, we will say no more
of what is past.

XLIV. But this single day, this very day that now is, this very moment
while I am speaking, defend your conduct during this very moment, if
you can. Why has the senate been surrounded with a belt of armed men?
Why are your satellites listening to me sword in hand? Why are not the
folding-doors of the temple of Concord open? Why do you bring men of
all nations the most barbarous, Ityreans, armed with arrows, into the
forum? He says, that he does so as a guard. Is it not then better to
perish a thousand times than to be unable to live in one's own city
without a guard of armed men? But believe me, there is no protection
in that; - a man must be defended by the affection and good-will of his
fellow citizens, not by arms. The Roman people will take them from
you, will wrest them from your hands, I wish that they may do so while
we are still safe. But however you treat us, as long as you adopt
those counsels, it is impossible for you, believe me, to last long. In
truth, that wife of yours, who is so far removed from covetousness,
and whom I mention without intending any slight to her, has been too
long owing[23] her third payment to the state. The Roman people has
men to whom it can entrust the helm of the state, and wherever they
are, there is all the defence of the republic, or rather, there is
the republic itself, which as yet has only avenged, but has not
reestablished itself. Truly and surely has the republic most high born
youths ready to defend it, - though they may for a time keep in the
background from a desire for tranquillity, still they can be recalled
by the republic at any time.

The name of peace is sweet, the thing itself is most salutary. But
between peace and slavery there is a wide difference. Peace is liberty
in tranquillity, slavery is the worst of all evils, - to be repelled,
if need be, not only by war, but even by death. But if those
deliverers of ours have taken themselves away out of our sight, still
they have left behind the example of their conduct. They have done
what no one else had done. Brutus pursued Tarquinius with war, who
was a king when it was lawful for a king to exist in Rome. Spurius
Cassius, Spurius Maelius, and Marcus Manlius were all slain because
they were suspected of aiming at regal power. These are the first men
who have ever ventured to attack, sword in hand, a man who was not
aiming at regal power, but actually reigning. And their action is not
only of itself a glorious and godlike exploit, but it is also one put



Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroThe Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 → online text (page 6 of 51)