Marcus Tullius Cicero.

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the murder of his father and of his uncle. Oh the marvellous
impudence, and audacity, and temerity of such an assertion! to dare to
put this in writing against that young man, whom I and my brother,
on account of his amiable manners, and pure character, and splendid
abilities, vie with one another in loving, and to whom we incessantly
devote our eyes, and ears, and affections! And as to me, he does not
know whether he is injuring or praising me in those same edicts. When
he threatens the most virtuous citizens with the same punishment which
I inflicted on the most wicked and infamous of men, he seems to praise
me as if he were desirous of copying me; but when he brings up again
the memory of that most illustrious exploit, then he thinks that he is
exciting some odium against me in the breasts of men like himself.

VIII. But what is it that he has done himself? When he had published
all these edicts, he issued another, that the senate was to meet in a
full house on the twenty-fourth of November. On that day he himself
was not present. But what were the terms of his edict? These, I
believe, are the exact words of the end of it: "If any one fails to
attend, all men will be at liberty to think him the adviser of my
destruction and of most ruinous counsels". What are ruinous counsels?
those which relate to the recovery of the liberty of the Roman people?
Of those counsels I confess that I have been and still am an adviser
and prompter to Caesar. Although he did not stand in need of any one's
advice, but still I spurned on the willing horse, as it is said. For
what good man would not have advised putting you to death, when on
your death depended the safety and life of every good man, and the
liberty and dignity of the Roman people?

But when he had summoned us all by so severe an edict, why did he not
attend himself? Do you suppose that he was detained by any melancholy
or important occasion? He was detained drinking and feasting. If,
indeed, it deserves to be called a feast, and not rather gluttony.
He neglected to attend on the day mentioned in his edict, and he
adjourned the meeting to the twenty-eighth. He then summoned us to
attend in the Capitol, and at that temple he did arrive himself,
coming up through some mine left by the Gauls. Men came, having been
summoned, some of them indeed men of high distinction, but forgetful
of what was due to their dignity. For the day was such, the report of
the object of the meeting such, such too the man who had convened the
senate, that it was discreditable for a senate to feel no fear for the
result. And yet to those men who had assembled he did not dare to
say a single word about Caesar, though he had made up his mind[28]
to submit a motion respecting him to the senate. There was a man of
consular rank who had brought a resolution ready drawn up. Is it not
now admitting that he is himself an enemy, when he does not dare to
make a motion respecting a man who is leading an army against him
while he is consul? For it is perfectly plain that one of the two
must be an enemy, nor is it possible to come to a different decision
respecting adverse generals. If then Caius Caesar be an enemy, why does
the consul submit no motion to the senate? If he does not deserve to
be branded by the senate, then what can the consul say, who, by his
silence respecting him, has confessed that he himself is an enemy? In
his edicts he styles him Spartacus, while in the senate he does not
venture to call him even a bad citizen.

IX. But in the most melancholy circumstances what mirth does he not
provoke? I have committed to memory some short phrases of one edict,
which he appears to think particularly clever, but I have not as yet
found any one who has understood what he intended by them. "That is no
insult which a worthy man does." Now, in the first place, what is the
meaning of "worthy?" For there are many men worthy of punishment, as
he himself is. Does he mean what a man does who is invested with any
dignity?[29] if so, what insult can be greater? Moreover, what is the
meaning of "doing an insult?" Who ever uses such an expression? Then
comes, "Nor any fear which an enemy threatens" What then? is fear
usually threatened by a friend? Then came many similar sentences. Is
it not better to be dumb, than to say what no one can understand? Now
see why his tutor, exchanging pleas for ploughs, has had given to him
in the public domain of the Roman people two thousand acres of land in
the Leontine district, exempt from all taxes, for making a stupid man
still stupider at the public expense.

However, these perhaps are trifling matters. I ask now, why all on a
sudden he became so gentle in the senate, after having been so fierce
in his edicts? For what was the object of threatening Lucius Cassius,
a most fearless tribune of the people, and a most virtuous and loyal
citizen, with death if he came to the Senate? of expelling Decimus
Caifulenus, a man thoroughly attached to the republic, from the senate
by violence and threats of death? of interdicting Titus Canutius, by
whom he had been repeatedly and deservedly harassed by most legitimate
attacks, not only from the temple itself but from all approach to it?
What was the resolution of the senate which he was afraid that they
would stop by the interposition of their veto? That, I suppose,
respecting the supplication in honour of Marcus Lepidus, a most
illustrious man! Certainly there was a great danger of our hindering
an ordinary compliment to a man on whom we were every day thinking
of conferring some extraordinary honour. However, that he might not
appear to have had no reason at all for ordering the senate to
meet, he was on the point of bringing forward some motion about the
republic, when the news about the fourth legion came; which entirely
bewildered him, and hastening to flee away, he took a division on the
resolution for decreeing this supplication, though such a proceeding
had never been heard of before.[30]

X. But what a setting out was his after this! what a journey when he
was in his robe as a general! How did he shun all eyes, and the light
of day, and the city, and the forum! How miserable was his flight! how
shameful! how infamous! Splendid, too, were the decrees of the senate
passed on the evening of that very day; very religiously solemn
was the allotment of the provinces; and heavenly indeed was the
opportunity, when everyone got exactly what he thought most desirable.
You are acting admirably, therefore, O tribunes of the people, in
bringing forward a motion about the protection of the senate and
consuls, and most deservedly are we all bound to feel and to prove to
you the greatest gratitude for your conduct. For how can we be free
from fear and danger while menaced by such covetousness and audacity?
And as for that ruined and desperate man, what more hostile decision
can be passed upon him than has already been passed by his own
friends? His most intimate friend, a man connected with me too, Lucius
Lentulus, and also Publius Naso, a man destitute of covetousness, have
shown that they think that they have no provinces assigned them, and
that the allotments of Antonius are invalid. Lucius Philippus, a man
thoroughly worthy of his father and grandfather and ancestors, has
done the same. The same is the opinion of Marcus Turanius, a man of
the greatest integrity and purity of life. The same is the conduct
of Publius Oppius; and those very men, - who, influenced by their
friendship for Marcus Antonius, have attributed to him more power than
they would perhaps really approve of, - Marcus Piso, my own connexion,
a most admirable man and virtuous citizen, and Marcus Vehilius, a man
of equal respectability, have both declared that they would obey the
authority of the senate. Why should I speak of Lucius Cinna? whose
extraordinary integrity, proved under many trying circumstances, makes
the glory of his present admirable conduct less remarkable; he has
altogether disregarded the province assigned to him; and so has Caius
Cestius, a man of great and firm mind.

Who are there left then to be delighted with this heavensent
allotment? Lucius Antonius and Marcus Antonius! O happy pair! for
there is nothing that they wished for more. Caius Antonius has
Macedonia. Happy, too, is he! For he was constantly talking about this
province. Caius Calvisius has Africa. Nothing could be more fortunate,
for he had only just departed from Africa, and, as if he had divined
that he should return, he left two lieutenants at Utica. Then Marcus
Iccius has Sicily, and Quintus Cassius Spain. I do not know what to
suspect. I fancy the lots which assigned these two provinces, were not
quite so carefully attended to by the gods.

XI. O Caius Caesar, (I am speaking of the young man,) what safety have
you brought to the republic! How unforeseen has it been! how sudden!
for if he did these things when flying, what would he have done when
he was pursuing? In truth, he had said in a harangue that he would be
the guardian of the city; and that he would keep his army at the
gates of the city till the first of May. What a fine guardian (as the
proverb goes) is the wolf of the sheep! Would Antonius have been a
guardian of the city, or its plunderer and destroyer? And he said too
that he would come into the city and go out as he pleased. What more
need I say? Did he not say, in the hearing of all the people, while
sitting in front of the temple of Castor, that no one should remain
alive but the conqueror?

On this day, O conscript fathers, for the first time after a long
interval do we plant our foot and take possession of liberty. Liberty,
of which, as long as I could be, I was not only the defender, but even
the saviour. But when I could not be so, I rested; and I bore the
misfortunes and misery of that period without abjectness, and not
without some dignity. But as for this most foul monster, who could
endure him, or how could any one endure him? What is there in Antonius
except lust, and cruelty, and wantonness, and audacity? Of these
materials he is wholly made up. There is in him nothing ingenuous,
nothing moderate, nothing modest, nothing virtuous. Wherefore, since
the matter has come to such a crisis that the question is whether he
is to make atonement to the republic for his crimes, or we are to
become slaves, let us at last, I beseech you, by the immortal gods,
O conscript fathers, adopt our fathers' courage, and our fathers'
virtue, so as either to recover the liberty belonging to the Roman
name and race, or else to prefer death to slavery. We have borne and
endured many things which ought not to be endured in a free city, some
of us out of a hope of recovering our freedom, some from too great a
fondness for life. But if we have submitted to these things, which
necessity and a sort of force which may seem almost to have been put
on us by destiny have compelled us to endure, though, in point of
fact, we have not endured them, are we also to bear with the most
shameful and inhuman tyranny of this profligate robber?

XII. What will he do in his passion, if ever he has the power, who,
when he is not able to show his anger against any one, has been the
enemy of all good men? What will he not dare to do when victorious,
who, without having gained any victory, has committed such crimes as
these since the death of Caesar? has emptied his well filled house? has
pillaged his gardens? has transferred to his own mansion all their
ornaments? has sought to make his death a pretext for slaughter and
conflagration? who, while he has carried two or three resolutions of
the senate which have been advantageous to the republic, has made
everything else subservient to his own acquisition of gain and
plunder? who has put up exemptions and annuities to sale? who has
released cities from obligations? who has removed whole provinces
from subjection to the Roman empire? who has restored exiles? who has
passed forged laws in the name of Caesar, and has continued to have
forged decrees engraved on brass and fixed up in the Capitol, and has
set up in his own house a domestic market for all things of that sort?
who has imposed laws on the Roman people? and who, with armed troops
and guards, has excluded both the people and the magistrates from the
forum? who has filled the senate with armed men? and has introduced
armed men into the temple of Concord when he was holding a senate
there? who ran down to Brundusium to meet the legions, and then
murdered all the centurions in them who were well affected to the
republic? who endeavoured to come to Rome with his army to accomplish
our massacre and the utter destruction of the city?

And he, now that he has been prevented from succeeding in this attempt
by the wisdom and forces of Caesar, and the unanimity of the veterans,
and the valour of the legions, even now that his fortunes are
desperate, does not diminish his audacity, nor, mad that he is, does
he cease proceeding in his headlong career of fury. He is leading his
mutilated army into Gaul, with one legion, and that too wavering in
its fidelity to him, he is waiting for his brother Lucius, as he
cannot find any one more nearly like himself than him. But now what
slaughter is this man, who has thus become a captain instead of a
matador, a general instead of a gladiator, making, wherever he sets
his foot! He destroys stores, he slays the flocks and herds, and all
the cattle, wherever he finds them, his soldiers revel in their spoil,
and he himself, in order to imitate his brother, drowns himself in
wine. Fields are laid waste, villas are plundered, matrons, virgins,
well born boys are carried off and given up to the soldiery, and
Marcus Antonius has done exactly the same wherever he has led his

XIII. Will you open your gates to these most infamous brothers? will
you ever admit them into the city? will you not rather, now that the
opportunity is offered to you, now that you have generals ready, and
the minds of the soldiers eager for the service, and all the Roman
people unanimous, and all Italy excited with the desire to recover its
liberty, - will you not, I say, avail yourself of the kindness of the
immortal gods? You will never have an opportunity if you neglect this
one. He will be hemmed in in the rear, in the front, and in flank, if
he once enters Gaul. Nor must he be attacked by arms alone, but by
our decrees also. Mighty is the authority, mighty is the name of
the senate when all its members are inspired by one and the same
resolution. Do you not see how the forum is crowded? how the Roman
people is on tiptoe with the hope of recovering its liberty? which
now, beholding us, after a long interval, meeting here in numbers,
hopes too that we are also met in freedom. It was in expectation of
this day that I avoided the wicked army of Marcus Antonius, at a
time when he, while inveighing against me, was not aware for what an
occasion I was reserving myself and my strength. If at that time I had
chosen to reply to him, while he was seeking to begin the massacre
with me, I should not now be able to consult the welfare of the
republic. But now that I have this opportunity, I will never, O
conscript fathers, neither by day nor by night, cease considering what
ought to be thought concerning the liberty of the Roman people, and
concerning your dignity. And whatever ought to be planned or done, I
not only will never shrink from, but I will offer myself for, and beg
to have entrusted to me. This is what I did before while it was in my
power; when it was no longer in my power to do so, I did nothing. But
now it is not only in my power, but it is absolutely necessary for me,
unless we prefer being slaves to fighting with all our strength and
courage to avoid being slaves. The immortal gods have given us these
protectors, Caesar for the city, Brutus for Gaul. For if he had been
able to oppress the city we must have become slaves at once; if he had
been able to get possession of Gaul, then it would not have been long
before every good man must have perished and all the rest have been

XIV. Now then that this opportunity is afforded to you, O conscript
fathers, I entreat you in the name of the immortal gods, seize upon
it; and recollect at last that you are the chief men of the most
honourable council on the whole face of the earth. Give a token to the
Roman people that your wisdom shall not fail the republic, since that
too professes that its valour shall never desert it either. There
is no need for my warning you: there is no one so foolish as not to
perceive that if we go to sleep over this opportunity we shall have to
endure a tyranny which will be not only cruel and haughty, but also
ignominious and flagitious. You know the insolence of Antonius; you
know his friends; you know his whole household. To be slaves to
lustful, wanton, debauched, profligate, drunken gamblers, is the
extremity of misery combined with the extremity of infamy. And if now
(but may the immortal gods avert the omen!) that worst of fates shall
befall the republic, then, as brave gladiators take care to perish
with honour, let us too, who are the chief men of all countries and
nations, take care to fall with dignity rather than to live as slaves
with ignominy.

There is nothing more detestable than disgrace; nothing more shameful
than slavery. We have been born to glory and to liberty; let us either
preserve them or die with dignity. Too long have we concealed what we
have felt: now at length it is revealed: every one has plainly shown
what are his feelings to both sides, and what are his inclinations.
There are impious citizens, measured by the love I bear my country,
too many; but in proportion to the multitude of well-affected ones,
very few; and the immortal gods have given the republic an incredible
opportunity and chance for destroying them. For, in addition to the
defences which we already have, there will soon be added consuls
of consummate prudence, and virtue, and concord, who have already
deliberated and pondered for many months on the freedom of the Roman
people. With these men for our advisers and leaders, with the gods
assisting us, with ourselves using all vigilance and taking great
precautions for the future, and with the Roman people acting
with unanimity, we shall indeed be free in a short time, and the
recollection of our present slavery will make liberty sweeter.

XV. Moved by these considerations, since the tribunes of the people
have brought forward a motion to ensure that the senate shall be able
to meet in safety on the first of January, and that we may be able
to deliver our sentiments on the general welfare of the state with
freedom, I give my vote that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, the
consuls elect, do take care that the senate be enabled to meet in
safety on the first of January; and, as an edict has been published
by Decimus Brutus, imperator and consul elect, I vote that the senate
thinks that Decimus Brutus, imperator and consul, deserves excellently
well of the republic, inasmuch as he is upholding the authority of the
senate, and the freedom and empire of the Roman people; and as he is
also retaining the province of Gallia Citerior, a province full of
most virtuous and brave men, and of citizens most devoted to the
republic, and his army, in obedience to the senate, I vote that the
senate judges that he, and his army, and the municipalities and
colonies of the province of Gaul, have acted and are acting properly,
and regularly, and in a manner advantageous to the republic. And
the senate thinks that it will be for the general interests of the
republic that the provinces which are at present occupied by Decimus
Brutus and by Lucius Plancus, both imperators, and consuls elect, and
also by the officers who are in command of provinces, shall continue
to be held by them in accordance with the provisions of the Julian
law, until each of these officers has a successor appointed by a
resolution of the senate; and that they shall take care to maintain
those provinces and armies in obedience to the senate and people of
Rome, and as a defence to the republic. And since, by the exertions
and valour and wisdom of Caius Caesar, and by the admirable unanimity
of the veteran soldiers, who, obeying his authority, have been and are
a protection to the republic, the Roman people has been defended, and
is at this present time being defended, from the most serious dangers.
And as the Martial legion has encamped at Alba, in a municipal town
of the greatest loyalty and courage, and has devoted itself to the
support of the authority of the senate, and of the freedom of the
Roman people; and as the fourth legion, behaving with equal wisdom
and with the same virtue, under the command of Lucius Egnatuleius the
quaestor, an illustrious citizen, has defended and is still defending
the authority of the senate and the freedom of the Roman people; I
give my vote, That it is and shall be an object of anxious care to the
senate to pay due honour and to show due gratitude to them for their
exceeding services to the republic: and that the senate hereby orders
that when Caius Pausa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls elect, have
entered on their office, they take the earliest opportunity of
consulting this body on these matters, as shall seem to them expedient
for the republic, and worthy of their own integrity and loyalty.



* * * * *


After delivering the preceding speech in the senate, Cicero proceeded
to the forum, where he delivered the following speech to the people,
to give them information of what had been done.

I. The great numbers in which you are here met this day, O Romans, and
this assembly, greater than, it seems to me, I ever remember, inspires
me with both an exceeding eagerness to defend the republic, and with a
great hope of reestablishing it. Although my courage indeed has never
failed; what has been unfavourable is the time; and the moment that
that has appeared to show any dawn of light, I at once have been the
leader in the defence of your liberty. And if I had attempted to have
done so before, I should not be able to do so now. For this day, O
Romans, (that you may not think it is but a trifling business in which
we have been engaged,) the foundations have been laid for future
actions. For the senate has no longer been content with styling
Antonius an enemy in words, but it has shown by actions that it thinks
him one. And now I am much more elated still, because you too with
such great unanimity and with such a clamour have sanctioned our
declaration that he is an enemy.

And indeed, O Romans, it is impossible but that either the men must
be impious who have levied armies against the consul, or else that he
must be an enemy against whom they have rightly taken arms. And this
doubt the senate has this day removed - not indeed that there really
was any; but it has prevented the possibility of there being any.
Caius Caesar, who has upheld and who is still upholding the republic
and your freedom by his seal and wisdom, and at the expense of his
patrimonial estate, has been complimented with the highest praises of
the senate. I praise you, - yes, I praise you greatly, O Romans,
when you follow with the most grateful minds the name of that
most illustrious youth, or rather boy; for his actions belong to
immortality, the name of youth only to his age. I can recollect many
things; I have heard of many things; I have read of many things; but
in the whole history of the whole world I have never known anything
like this. For, when we were weighed down with slavery, when the evil
was daily increasing, when we had no defence, while we were in dread
of the pernicious and fatal return of Marcus Antonius from Brundusium,
this young man adopted the design which none of us had ventured to
hope for, which beyond all question none of us were acquainted with,
of raising an invincible army of his father's soldiers, and so
hindering the frenzy of Antonius, spurred on as it was by the most
inhuman counsels, from the power of doing mischief to the republic.

II. For who is there who does not see clearly that, if Caesar had not
prepared an army, the return of Antonius must have been accompanied by
our destruction? For, in truth, he returned in such a state of mind,
burning with hatred of you all, stained with the blood of the Roman
citizens, whom he had murdered at Suessa and at Brundusium, that he
thought of nothing but the utter destruction of the republic. And what

Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroThe Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 → online text (page 8 of 51)