Marcus Tullius Cicero.

The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 online

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protection could have been found for your safety and for your liberty
if the army of Caius Caesar had not been composed of the bravest of his
father's soldiers? And with respect to his praises and honours, - and
he is entitled to divine and everlasting honours for his godlike and
undying services, - the senate has just consented to my proposals, and
has decreed that a motion be submitted to it at the very earliest

Now who is there who does not see that by this decree Antonius has
been adjudged to be an enemy? For what else can we call him, when the
senate decides that extraordinary honours are to be devised for those
men who are leading armies against him? What? did not the Martial
legion (which appears to me by some divine permission to have derived
its name from that god from whom we have heard that the Roman people
descended) decide by its resolutions that Antonius was an enemy before
the senate had come to any resolution? For if he be not an enemy, we
must inevitably decide that those men who have deserted the consul are
enemies. Admirably and seasonably, O Romans, have you by your cries
sanctioned the noble conduct of the men of the Martial legion, who
have come over to the authority of the senate, to your liberty, and
to the whole republic; and have abandoned that enemy and robber and
parricide of his country. Nor did they display only their spirit
and courage in doing this, but their caution and wisdom also. They
encamped at Alba, in a city convenient, fortified, near, full of brave
men and loyal and virtuous citizens. The fourth legion imitating
the virtue of this Martial legion, under the leadership of Lucius
Egnatuleius, whom the senate deservedly praised a little while ago,
has also joined the army of Caius Caesar.

III. What more adverse decisions, O Marcus Antonius, can you want?
Caesar, who has levied an army against you, is extolled to the skies.
The legions are praised in the most complimentary language, which have
abandoned you, which were sent for into Italy by you; and which,
if you had chosen to be a consul rather than an enemy, were wholly
devoted to you. And the fearless and honest decision of those legions
is confirmed by the senate, is approved of by the whole Roman
people, - unless, indeed, you to-day, O Romans, decide that Antonius is
a consul and not an enemy. I thought, O Romans, that you did think as
you show you do. What? do you suppose that the municipal towns, and
the colonies, and the prefectures have any other opinion? All men are
agreed with one mind; so that every one who wishes the state to be
saved must take up every sort of arms against that pestilence. What?
does, I should like to know, does the opinion of Decimus Brutus,
O Romans, which you can gather from his edict, which has this day
reached us, appear to any one deserving of being lightly esteemed?
Rightly and truly do you say No, O Romans. For the family and name
of Brutus has been by some especial kindness and liberality of the
immortal gods given to the republic, for the purpose of at one time
establishing, and at another of recovering, the liberty of the Roman
people. What then has been the opinion which Decimus Brutus has formed
of Marcus Antonius? He excludes him from his province. He opposes him
with his army. He rouses all Gaul to war, which is already used of its
own accord, and in consequence of the judgment which it has itself
formed. If Antonius be consul, Brutus is an enemy. Can we then doubt
which of these alternatives is the fact?

IV. And just as you now with one mind and one voice affirm that you
entertain no doubt, so did the senate just now decree that Decimus
Brutus deserved excellently well of the republic, inasmuch as he was
defending the authority of the senate and the liberty and empire of
the Roman people. Defending it against whom? Why, against an enemy.
For what other sort of defence deserves praise? In the next place the
province of Gaul is praised, and is deservedly complimented in most
honourable language by the senate for resisting Antonius. But if that
province considered him the consul, and still refused to receive him,
it would be guilty of great wickedness. For all the provinces belong
to the consul of right, and are bound to obey him. Decimus Brutus,
imperator and consul elect, a citizen born for the republic, denies
that he is consul; Gaul denies it; all Italy denies it; the senate
denies it; you deny it. Who then think that he is consul except a few
robbers? Although even they themselves do not believe what they say;
nor is it possible that they should differ from the judgment of all
men, impious and desperate men though they be. But the hope of plunder
and booty blinds their minds; men whom no gifts of money, no allotment
of land, nor even that interminable auction has satisfied; who have
proposed to themselves the city, the properties and fortunes of all
the citizens as their booty; and who, as long as there is something
for them to seize and carry off, think that nothing will be wanting to
them; among whom Marcus Antonius (O ye immortal gods, avert, I pray
you, and efface this omen,) has promised to divide this city. May
things rather happen, O Romans, as you pray that they should, and may
the chastisement of this frenzy fall on him and on his friend. And,
indeed, I feel sure that it will be so. For I think that at present
not only men but the immortal gods have all united together to
preserve this republic. For if the immortal gods foreshow us the
future, by means of portents and prodigies, then it has been openly
revealed to us that punishment is near at hand to him, and liberty to
us. Or if it was impossible for such unanimity on the part of all men
to exist without the inspiration of the gods, in either case how can
we doubt as to the inclinations of the heavenly deities? It only
remains, O Romans, for you to persevere in the sentiments which you at
present display.

V. I will act, therefore, as commanders are in the habit of doing when
their army is ready for battle, who, although they see their soldiers
ready to engage, still address an exhortation to them; and in like
manner I will exhort you who are already eager and burning to recover
your liberty. You have not - you have not, indeed, O Romans, to war
against an enemy with whom it is possible to make peace on any terms
whatever. For he does not now desire your slavery, as he did before,
but he is angry now and thirsts for your blood. No sport appears more
delightful to him than bloodshed, and slaughter, and the massacre
of citizens before his eyes. You have not, O Romans, to deal with a
wicked and profligate man, but with an unnatural and savage beast.
And, since he has fallen into a well, let him be buried in it. For if
he escapes out of it, there will be no inhumanity of torture which it
will be possible to avoid. But he is at present hemmed in, pressed,
and besieged by those troops which we already have, and will soon be
still more so by those which in a few days the new consuls will levy.
Apply yourselves then to this business, as you are doing. Never have
you shown greater unanimity in any cause; never have you been so
cordially united with the senate. And no wonder. For the question now
is not in what condition we are to live, but whether we are to live at
all, or to perish with torture and ignominy.

Although nature, indeed, has appointed death for all men: but valour
is accustomed to ward off any cruelty or disgrace in death. And that
is an inalienable possession of the Roman race and name. Preserve, I
beseech you, O Romans, this attribute which your ancestors have left
you as a sort of inheritance. Although all other things are uncertain,
fleeting, transitory; virtue alone is planted firm with very deep
roots; it cannot be undermined by any violence; it can never be moved
from its position. By it your ancestors first subdued the whole of
Italy; then destroyed Carthage, overthrew Numantia, and reduced the
most mighty kings and most warlike nations under the dominion of this

VI. And your ancestors, O Romans, had to deal with an enemy who had
also a republic, a senate-house, a treasury, harmonious and united
citizens, and with whom, if fortune had so willed it, there might have
been peace and treaties on settled principles. But this enemy of yours
is attacking your republic, but has none himself; is eager to destroy
the senate, that is to say, the council of the whole world, but has no
public council himself; he has exhausted your treasury, and has none
of his own. For how can a man be supported by the unanimity of his
citizens, who has no city at all? And what principles of peace
can there be with that man who is full of incredible cruelty, and
destitute of faith?

The whole then of the contest, O Romans, which is now before the Roman
people, the conqueror of all nations, is with an assassin, a robber, a
Spartacus.[31] For as to his habitual boast of being like Catilina, he
is equal to him in wickedness, but inferior in energy. He, though he
had no army, rapidly levied one. This man has lost that very army
which he had. As, therefore, by my diligence, and the authority of the
senate, and your own zeal and valour, you crushed Catilina, so you
will very soon hear that this infamous piratical enterprise of
Antonius has been put down by your own perfect and unexampled harmony
with the senate, and by the good fortune and valour of your armies and
generals. I, for my part, as far as I am able to labour, and to effect
anything by my care, and exertions, and vigilance, and authority,
and counsel, will omit nothing which I may think serviceable to your
liberty. Nor could I omit it without wickedness after all your most
ample and honourable kindness to me. However, on this day, encouraged
by the motion of a most gallant man, and one most firmly attached to
you, Marcus Servilius, whom you see before you, and his colleagues
also, most distinguished men, and most virtuous citizens; and partly,
too, by my advice and my example, we have, for the first time after a
long interval, fired up again with a hope of liberty.



* * * * *


The new consuls Hirtius and Pansa were much attached to Cicero, had
consulted him a great deal, and professed great respect for his
opinion; but they were also under great obligations to Julius Caesar
and, consequently, connected to some extent with his party and with
Antonius, on which account they wished, if possible, to employ
moderate measures only against him.

As soon as they had entered on their office, they convoked the senate
to meet for the purpose of deliberating on the general welfare of the
republic. They both spoke themselves with great firmness, promising to
be the leaders in defending the liberties of Rome, and exhorting the
senate to act with courage. And then they called on Quintus Fufius
Calenus, who had been consul A.U.C. 707, and who was Pansa's
father-in-law, to deliver his opinion first. He was known to be a firm
friend of Antonius. Cicero wished to declare Antonius a public enemy
at once, but Calenus proposed that before they proceeded to acts of
open hostility against him, they should send an embassy to him to
admonish him to desist from his attempts upon Gaul, and to submit to
the authority of the senate. Piso and others supported this motion,
on the ground that it was cruel and unjust to condemn a man without
giving him a fair chance of submitting, and without hearing what he
had to say. It was in opposition to Calenus's motion that Cicero made
the following speech, substituting for his proposition one to declare
Antonius an enemy, and to offer pardon to those of his army who
returned to their duty by the first of February, to thank Decimus
Brutus for his conduct in Gaul, to decree a statue to Marcus
Lepidus[32] for his services to the republic and his loyalty, to
thank Caius Caesar (Octavius) and to grant him a special commission
as general, to make him a senator and propraetor and to enable him to
stand for any subsequent magistracy as if he had been quaestor, to
thank Lucius Egnatuleius, and to vote thanks and promise rewards to
the Martial and the fourth legion.

I. Nothing, O conscript fathers, has ever seemed to me longer than
these calends of January, and I think that for the last few days you
have all been feeling the same thing. For those who are waging war
against the republic have not waited for this day. But we, while it
would have been most especially proper for us to come to the aid of
the general safety with our counsel, were not summoned to the senate.
However, the speech just addressed to us by the consuls has removed
our complaints as to what is past, for they have spoken in such a
manner that the calends of January seem to have been long wished for
rather than really to have arrived late.

And while the speeches of the consuls have encouraged my mind, and
have given me a hope, not only of preserving our safety, but even of
recovering our former dignity, on the other hand, the opinion of the
man who has been asked for his opinion first would have disturbed me,
if I had not confidence in your virtue and firmness. For this day, O
conscript fathers, has dawned upon you, and this opportunity has been
afforded you of proving to the Roman people how much virtue, how much
firmness and how much dignity exists in the counsels of this order.
Recollect what a day it was thirteen days ago, how great was then your
unanimity, and virtue, and firmness, and what great praise, what great
glory, and what great gratitude you gained from the Roman people.
And on that day, O conscript fathers, you resolved that no other
alternative was in your power, except either an honourable peace, or a
necessary war.

Is Marcus Antonius desirous of peace? Let him lay down his arms, let
him implore our pardon, let him deprecate our vengeance; he will find
no one more reasonable than me, though, while seeking to recommend
himself to impious citizens, he has chosen to be an enemy instead of
a friend to me. There is, in truth, nothing which can be given to him
while waging war, there will perhaps be something which may be granted
to him if he comes before us as a suppliant.

II. But to send ambassadors to a man respecting whom you passed a most
dignified and severe decision only thirteen days ago, is not an act of
lenity, but, if I am to speak my real opinion, of downright madness.
In the first place, you praised those generals who, of their own head,
had undertaken war against him, in the next place, you praised the
veterans who, though they had been settled in those colonies by
Antonius, preferred the liberty of the Roman people to the obligations
which they were under to him. Is it not so? Why was the Martial
legion? why was the fourth legion praised? For if they have deserted
the consul, they ought to be blamed; if they have abandoned an enemy
to the republic, then they are deservedly praised.

But as at that time you had not yet got any consuls, you passed a
decree that a motion concerning the rewards for the soldiers and the
honours to be conferred on the generals should be submitted to you at
the earliest opportunity. Are you then going now to arrange rewards
for those men who have taken arms against Antonius, and to send
ambassadors to Antonius? so as to deserve to be ashamed that the
legions should have come to more honourable resolutions than the
senate if, indeed, the legions have resolved to defend the senate
against Antonius, but the senate decrees to send ambassadors to
Antonius. Is this encouraging the spirit of the soldiers, or damping
their virtue?

This is what we have gained in the last twelve days, that the man
whom no single person except Cotyla was then found to defend, has now
advocates even of consular rank. Would that they had all been asked
their opinion before me, (although I have my suspicions as to what
some of those men who will be asked after me, are intending to say) I
should find it easier to speak against them if any argument appeared
to have been advanced.

For there is an opinion in some quarters that some one intends to
propose to decree Antonius that further Gaul, which Plancus is at
present in possession of. What else is that but supplying an enemy
with all the arms necessary for civil war; first of all with the
sinews of war, money in abundance, of which he is at present
destitute, and secondly, with as much cavalry as he pleases? Cavalry
do I say? He is a likely man to hesitate, I suppose, to bring with him
the barbarian nations, - a man who does not see this is senseless, he
who does see it, and still advocates such a measure, is impious. Will
you furnish a wicked and desperate citizen with an army of Gauls and
Germans, with money, and infantry, and cavalry, and all sorts of
resources? All these excuses are no excuse at all. - "He is a friend of
mine." Let him first be a friend of his country. - "He is a relation of
mine." Can any relationship be nearer than that of one's country, in
which even one's parents are comprised? "He has given me money:" - I
should like to see the man who will dare to say that. But when I have
explained what is the real object aimed at, it will be easy for you to
decide which opinion you ought to agree with and adopt.

III. The matter at issue is, whether power is to be given to Marcus
Antonius of oppressing the republic, of massacring the virtuous
citizens, of plundering the city, of distributing the lands among his
robbers, of overwhelming the Roman people in slavery; or, whether he
is not to be allowed to do all this. Do you doubt what you are to do?
"Oh, but all this does not apply to Antonius." Even Cotyla would not
venture to say that. For what does not apply to him? A man who, while
he says that he is defending the acts of another, perverts all those
laws of his which we might most properly praise. Caesar wished to drain
the marshes: this man has given all Italy to that moderate man Lucius
Antonius to distribute. - What? has the Roman people adopted this
law? - What? could it be passed with a proper regard for the auspices?
But this conscientious augur acts in reference to the auspices
without his colleagues. Although those auspices do not require any
interpretation; - for who is there who is ignorant that it is impious
to submit any motion to the people while it is thundering? The
tribunes of the people carried laws respecting the provinces in
opposition to the acts of Caesar; Caesar had extended the provisions of
his law over two years; Antonius over six years. Has then the Roman
people adopted this law? What? was it ever regularly promulgated?
What? was it not passed before it was even drawn up? Did we not see
the deed done before we even suspected that it was going to be done?
Where is the Caecilian and Didian law? What is become of the law that
such bills should be published on three market days? What is become of
the penalty appointed by the recent Junian and Licinian law? Can these
laws be ratified without the destruction of all other laws? Has any
one had a right of entering the forum? Moreover, what thunder, and
what a storm that was! so that even if the consideration of the
auspices had no weight with Marcus Antonius, it would seem strange
that he could endure and bear such exceeding violence of tempest, and
rain, and whirlwind. When therefore he, as augur, says that he carried
a law while Jupiter was not only thundering, but almost uttering an
express prohibition of it by his clamour from heaven, will he hesitate
to confess that it was carried in violation of the auspices? What?
does the virtuous augur think that it has nothing to do with the
auspices, that he carried the law with the aid of that colleague whose
election he himself vitiated by giving notice of the auspices?

IV. But perhaps we, who are his colleagues, may be the interpreters
of the auspices? Do we also want interpreters of arms? In the first
place, all the approaches to the forum were so fenced round, that even
if no armed men were standing in the way, still it would have been
impossible to enter the forum except by tearing down the barricades.
But the guards were arranged in such a manner, that, as the access of
an enemy to a city is prevented, so you might in this instance see the
burgesses and the tribunes of the people cut off by forts and works
from all entrance to the forum. On which account I give my vote that
those laws which Marcus Antonius is said to have carried were all
carried by violence, and in violation of the auspices; and that the
people is not bound by them. If Marcus Antonius is said to have
carried any law about confirming the acts of Caesar and abolishing the
dictatorship for ever, and of leading colonies into any lands, then I
vote that those laws be passed over again, with a due regard to the
auspices, so that they may bind the people. For although they may be
good measures which he passed irregularly and by violence, still they
are not to be accounted laws, and the whole audacity of this frantic
gladiator must be repudiated by our authority. But that squandering
of the public money cannot possibly be endured by which he got rid of
seven hundred millions of sesterces by forged entries and deeds of
gifts, so that it seems an absolute miracle that so vast a sum of
money belonging to the Roman people can have disappeared in so short
a time. What? are those enormous profits to be endured which the
household of Marcus Antonius has swallowed up? He was continually
selling forged decrees; ordering the names of kingdoms and states, and
grants of exemptions to be engraved on brass, having received bribes
for such orders. And his statement always was, that he was doing these
things in obedience to the memoranda of Caesar, of which he himself was
the author. In the interior of his house there was going on a brisk
market of the whole republic. His wife, more fortunate for herself
than for her husband, was holding an auction of kingdoms and
provinces: exiles were restored without any law, as if by law: and
unless all these acts are rescinded by the authority of the senate,
now that we have again arrived at a hope of recovering the republic,
there will be no likeness of a free city left to us.

Nor is it only by the sale of forged memoranda and autographs that a
countless sum of money was collected together in that house, while
Antonius, whatever he sold, said that he was acting in obedience to
the papers of Caesar; but he even took bribes to make false entries
of the resolutions of the senate; to seal forged contracts; and
resolutions of the senate that had never been passed were entered
on the records of that treasury. Of all this baseness even foreign
nations were witnesses. In the meantime treaties were made; kingdoms
given away; nations and provinces released from the burdens of the
state; and false memorials of all these transactions were fixed up
all over the Capitol, amid the groans of the Roman people. And by all
these proceedings so vast a sum of money was collected in one house,
that if it were all made available, the Roman people would never want
money again.

V. Moreover, he passed a law to regulate judicial proceedings, this
chaste and upright man, this upholder of the tribunals and the law.
And in this he deceived us. He used to say that he appointed men from
the front ranks of the army, common soldiers, men of the Alauda,[33]
as judges. But he has in reality selected gamesters; he has selected
exiles; he has selected Greeks. Oh the fine bench of judges! Oh the
admirable dignity of that council! I do long to plead in behalf of
some defendant before that tribunal - Cyda of Crete; a prodigy even in
that island; the most audacious and abandoned of men. But even suppose
he were not so. Does he understand Latin? Is he qualified by birth and
station to be a judge? Does he - which is most important - does he know
anything about our laws and manners? Is he even acquainted with any of
the citizens? Why, Crete is better known to you than Rome is to Cyda.
In fact, the selection and appointment of the judges has usually been
confined to our own citizens. But who ever knew, or could possibly
have known this Gortynian judge? For Lysiades, the Athenian, we most
of us do know. For he is the son of Phaedrus, an eminent philosopher.
And, besides, he is a witty man, so that he will be able to get on
very well with Marcus Curius, who will be one of his colleagues, and
with whom he is in the habit of playing. I ask if Lysiades, when

Online LibraryMarcus Tullius CiceroThe Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 4 → online text (page 9 of 51)