Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF LUCIUS CORNELIUS BALBUS. - Orations vol. 3: Containing the Orations for his House, Plancius, Sextius, Coelius, Milo, Ligarius, etc.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF LUCIUS CORNELIUS BALBUS. - Marcus Tullius Cicero, Orations vol. 3: Containing the Orations for his House, Plancius, Sextius, Coelius, Milo, Ligarius, etc. 
The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, trans. C.D. Yonge (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1913-21). Vol. 3.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF LUCIUS CORNELIUS BALBUS.
Lucius Cornelius Balbus was a native of Gades,1 in Spain, and of an illustrious family in that city. He had been of great service to the Roman generals in Spain, both generally, and also especially at the time of the war with Sertorius, and, as a reward for his fidelity, he had had the freedom of the city given to him by Pompeius, by virtue of a law which authorized him to grant it to as many people as he chose. But the validity of this act of Pompeius was now disputed, on the ground that Gades was not one of the cities whose inhabitants were capable of receiving such a privilege, and that the law of Lucius Gellius Publicola and of Cnæus Cornelius Lentulus Clodianus did not apply to them; the prosecution against Balbus being instigated in reality out of hatred to Pompeius and Cæsar, in whose army he had at this moment an important command, and by whom he was highly trusted in many most important affairs.
He was defended by Pompeius and Crassus, and at their request by Cicero also, to whom they gave the post of honour. He was confirmed by the judges in his privileges as a citizen, and was afterwards (a.u.c. 714) made consul, being the first foreigner and adopted citizen who had ever attained that honour in Rome.
I.If the authority of those who are advocates in a person’s defence be of any weight, the cause of Lucius Cornelius has been defended by the most honourable men; if their experience be to be regarded, it has been defended by the most skilful lawyers; if we look to their ability, by the most eloquent of orators; or if it be their sincerity and zeal that we should regard, it has been upheld by those who are his greatest friends, and who are united to Lucius Cornelius not merely by mutual services, but by the greatest intimacy. What part, then, have I in this defence? That which is given to me by such influence as you have been pleased to allow me; by moderate experience; and by an ability which is by no means equal to my inclination to serve him. For as to the other men by whom he has been defended, I see that to them he is under great obligations; but how much I am under obligations to him I will explain to you at another time. This I assert at the beginning of my speech,—that if I cannot by my exertions properly requite all those men who have been friendly to my safety and to my dignity, I will at all events recompense them as far as in my power by at all times both feeling and declaring my obligations and my gratitude.
How great was the energy displayed by Cnæus Pompeius in speaking yesterday, O judges, how great his fluency, how great the riches of his eloquence, was shown plainly enough, not only by the secret feelings of your minds, but by your evident and unconcealed admiration. For I never heard anything which appeared to me more acute as regards the state of the law, NA* * * I never heard a more copious recollection of precedents; I never heard a more skilful argument concerning treaties, nor any statements of more illustrious authority concerning our wars, or of more weight and dignity with reference to the general interests of the republic; I never heard any one speak more modestly concerning himself, or more eloquently concerning the cause and the charge. So that that saying appeared to me to be a true one, which though some men devoted to literature and to learned studies were said to have given utterance to it, appeared nevertheless to be something incredible; namely, that the man whose soul contained every virtue, could with the most perfect ease do everything which he might wish to do. For how could there have been a greater fertility, and variety, and richness of eloquence in Lucius Crassus, a man born to a most singular gift of oratory, if even he had pleaded this cause, than was displayed by that man who was able to devote just so much time to this study as he spared from the uninterrupted succession of wars and victories in which his life has been passed from childhood up to this time?
And all this makes my task of summing up the more difficult. For, in truth, I am coming after an oration which has not just passed by your ears, but has sunk deep into the minds of all of you, so that you may very probably derive more pleasure from the recollection of that speech, than you can from the hearing not only of mine, but of any one else’s speech whatever.
II. But in this I am forced to comply with the wishes not only of Cornelius, whose desires I cannot possibly thwart in this his hour of danger, but also with those of Cnæus Pompeius, who has wished me the panegyrist of and the assistant in this action, and this determination, and this kindness of his, as I lately was in another cause which was pleaded before you, O judges.
And it appears to me that this is what the defendant himself deserves, that this is what the unexampled renown of this excellent man deserves, that this is what essentially belongs to the discharge of your duty, and that this is due to the cause itself, that, what it is quite notorious that Cnæus Pompeius did, all men should allow he had a lawful right to do. For there is nothing more true than that which he himself said yesterday, that Lucius Cornelius had now all his fortunes at stake, without being accused of any single crime of any description. For he is not said to have stolen the rights of a citizen, nor to have given any false account of his family, nor to have proceeded in an underhand manner by any shameless falsehood, nor to have crept fraudulently into the register. One thing alone is imputed to him, that he was born at Gades; a fact which no one denies. All the rest the prosecutor admits. He admits that he served in Spain, in a most severe war, with Quintus Metellus, with Caius Memmius; that he served both in the fleet and in the army; and, when Pompeius came into Spain and began to have Memmius for his quæstor, that he never left Memmius; that he went to take possession of Carthage; that he was present at those two hardly contested and most important battles of Sucro and the Durius; that he remained with Pompeius to the end of the war. These are the battles of Cornelius. Such were his exertions; such was his industry; such were his dangers encountered on behalf of our republic; such was his valour, worthy of a general; while his hopes were hopes of a reward in proportion to his dangers. The rewards themselves are not the actions of him who obtained them, but of him who conferred them.
III. Therefore on account of this conduct he was presented by Cnæus Pompeius with the freedom of the city. That the prosecutor does not deny; but he finds fault with it, in such a manner that, as far as Balbus himself is concerned, his cause is approved of even at the moment that it is sought to punish him; in the case of Pompeius, his conduct is disapproved of, but no punishment is designed for him. And this is the way in which they wish to condemn the fame and fortune of a most innocent man, and the conduct of a most admirable commander. Therefore it is the status of Cornelius as a citizen, and the action of Pompeius, that are now on their trial before this court. For you admit that this man was born of a most honourable rank, in that state to which he belongs; and that from his earliest manhood, disregarding all his private affairs, he has passed his whole time in our wars, in the company of our own generals, and that he has been absent from no labour, from no siege, and from no battle. All these things are full of glory, and are the peculiar glory of Cornelius; nor is there any crime in any part of such conduct.
Where then is his crime? Is it because Pompeius presented him with the freedom of the city? Is that a crime of Balbus’s? By no means, unless honour is to be accounted ignominy. Whose crime is it then? In reality nobody’s at all; but if we look at the pleading of the prosecutor, it is clearly the crime of that man alone who gave him the freedom of the city. But if he had been influenced by interest, he would probably have selected some less worthy man for that reward. Even had he selected a good man, he would not have chosen one who had deserved as well of the state as Balbus; even if his action had been one of which it could not have been said that it was contrary to what was lawful, it would have been said that it was contrary to what was becoming. But all such vituperation would have deserved to be rejected by you, O judges. But at present what is it that is said? What does the prosecutor say? That Pompeius did what it was not lawful for him to do; which is a more serious charge than if he were to say that that had been done by him which was not expedient. For there are things which are not expedient, even if they are lawful. But whatever is not lawful is most certainly not expedient.
IV. Am I now, O judges, to hesitate to urge that it is impossible to doubt that we ought to confess that what it is notorious that Cnæus Pompeius did was not only lawful, but also expedient for him to do? For what qualification is wanting in this man, that, if he had it, we should consider that this liberty might lawfully be given and allowed to him? Is it experience in affairs? a man who during even the latter days of his childhood was beginning his course of the most important wars and commands? most of whose equals in age have seen a camp less frequently than he has celebrated a triumph? who has celebrated as many triumphs as there are countries and parts of the world? who has won as many victories in war as there are kinds of war in the nature of things? Is it ability? when even the very results and terminations of transactions have been, not the guides, but the companions of his counsels? a man in whom the most extraordinary good fortune has so kept pace with extraordinary valour, that, in the opinion of all men, more credit was due to the man than to the goddess. Have modesty, or integrity, or religion, or diligence ever been wanting in that man? a man than whom our provinces, and all free nations, and all kings, and the very most distant people of the earth have not only never seen one more chaste, more moderate, and more religious, but have never in their hopes or wishes even imagined one. Why need I speak of his authority, which is as great as it ought to be, springing from such great virtue and glory?
Is it not then, O judges, a shameful thing for the Roman people, that, after the senate and people of Rome have conferred on that man the rewards of the most honourable dignity; when he not only did not ask for commands, but when he even refused them, an inquiry into his conduct should be now taking place, in such terms that there should be a discussion as to whether it was lawful for him to do what he has done; or whether, I will not say, it was lawful, but whether it was impious for him to do so? (for he is said to have done it in contravention of a treaty,—that is to say, in contradiction to the religion and good faith of the Roman people.) Is it not disgraceful to you yourselves?
V. I, when a boy, have heard my father say this. When Quintus Metellus, the son of Lucius, was prosecuted for extortion and peculation, he, that man to whom the safety of his country was dearer than the sight of it, who had rather abandon his city than his opinion; when he, I say, was before the court, and when his account-books were being carried round to the judges that they might see the entry of one item, I have heard that there was not one judge among the Roman knights, most excellent men as they were, who did not avert his eyes, and turn himself altogether away, lest any one of them should appear for a moment to have doubted whether what such a man had entered in his public accounts was true or false. And shall we open the question of the legality of a decree of Cnæus Pompeius, pronounced in accordance with the vote of the senate? Shall we compare it with the words of the laws? with the treaties? Shall we scrutinise everything with the most unfriendly minuteness? They say that at Athens, when some man, who had lived among the Athenians with a high character for piety and wisdom, had given his evidence in public, and (as is the custom of the Greeks) was approaching the altar for the purpose of taking an oath in confirmation of it, all the judges cried out that he need not take the oath. When Greeks were unwilling to appear to imagine that the good faith of a well-proved man felt itself more bound by the formality of an oath than by the simple obligation of truth, shall we have a doubt as to what sort of man Cnæus Pompeius has been in respect of his regard for the religious observance of laws and treaties? For do you mean that he acted in violation of the treaties ignorantly, or knowingly? If you say that he did so knowingly, O, for the name of our empire! O, for the preeminent dignity of the Roman people! O, for the glory of Cnæus Pompeius, so widely and universally diffused, in such a manner that the home of his renown has but the same boundaries and limits as our common empire! O you nations, and cities, and peoples, and kings, and tetrarchs, and tyrants, you witnesses not only of the valour of Cnæus Pompeius in war, but also of his conscientiousness in peace! You, too, I implore, you, O voiceless lands, and you, O soil of the most remote districts; you, O seas, O harbours, O islands, O shores! For what land is there, what place of habitation, what spot in which there are not the deeply imprinted traces of this man’s courage, and humanity, and spirit, and wisdom? Will any one venture to say that this man, endued with such incredible and unheard-of dignity, and wisdom, and virtue, and consistency, has knowingly neglected, and violated, and broken treaties!
VI. The prosecutor indulges me with a gesture. He intimates that Cnæus Pompeius acted ignorantly. As if it were a lighter charge, when one has been occupied in affairs of state in so important a republic, and been presiding over the most serious transactions, to do anything which you know not to be legal, or to be utterly ignorant what is legal. Do you really mean that he did not know, he who had waged a most formidable and important war in Spain, what were the rights of the city of Gades? or that he did not catch the correct interpretation of a treaty made with the people, as not understanding their language? Will any one then dare to say that Cnæus Pompeius is ignorant of that which the most ordinary men, men of no knowledge of the world, of no military experience, which every common amanuensis professes to be acquainted with? I, indeed, think on the contrary, O judges, that while Cnæus Pompeius excels in every kind and variety of accomplishment, even of those which are not easily learnt without the most perfect leisure for their study, his most extraordinary credit and his most admirable knowledge consists in his thorough acquaintance with the treaties, and agreements, and conditions of other peoples, kings, and foreign nations, in short, with the entire laws of war and peace; unless, indeed, you mean to make out that the things which our books teach us while in the shade and at our leisure, Cnæus Pompeius was incapable of learning, either from books, when he was in the enjoyment of peace, or from the actual transactions, when he was engaged in the business of the state.
It is my opinion, O judges,1 this action is more to be attributed to the fault of the times than of the individual. Nor will I say any more about a trial of so scandalous a description. For it is the stain and disgrace of this age to envy virtue, and to seek to crush the budding flower of worth and dignity. In truth, if Cnæus Pompeius had lived five hundred years ago, that man from whom, while a young man and a Roman knight, the senate had often sought aid for the general safety; whose exploits had had all nations for their stage, being crowned everywhere by the most illustrious victories, both by land and sea; of which three triumphs had been the witnesses, proving that the whole world was made subject to our empire; whom the Roman people had distinguished with unexampled honours;—in that case, if it were now said among you that anything that he had done had been done in contravention of a treaty, who would listen to such a statement? No one. For his death would have put an end to the envy of him, his achievements would rest in the glory of his undying name. As, then, his virtue, if it were only heard of by us, would leave no room for doubt or question, shall it when present among us, when it has been experienced and beheld by ourselves, be injured by the voice of detractors?
VII. I will, therefore, say nothing about Pompeius in the rest of my speech; but I entreat you, O judges, to retain in your minds and memories what I have said. On the subject of the law, of the treaty, of precedents, and of the uninterrupted usage of our state, I shall repeat those things which have been said already. For neither has Marcus Crassus, who, as was natural to expect from his eloquence and from his honesty, has in the most careful manner explained the whole bearings of the case to you, nor has Cnæus Pompeius, whose speech abounded in every possible ornament of oratory, left me anything new, anything untouched by them, to dilate upon: but since, though I drew back, they both wished that this last labour of putting, as it were, a finishing stroke to their work, should be undertaken by me, I beg of you that you will consider that I have undertaken this office and employment more out of regard for what I thought my duty, than from any desire of making a display as an orator.
And, before I approach the law of the case and the cause of Cornelius, it seems to me desirable to say a little about the common condition of all of us, for the sake of deprecating the malevolence of any one. If, O judges, whatever may be the rank in which any one is born, or whatever the station in which he is placed by birth in respect of fortune, that same station he ought to maintain to his old age, and if all men whom either fortune has raised, or whom their own labour or industry has ennobled, are to be visited with punishment, then there does not appear to have been a more severe law or condition of life imposed on Lucius Cornelius than on many other virtuous and gallant men. But if the virtue and genius and humanity of many men, though born in the meanest class of life, and in the lowest degree of fortune has not only obtained them friendship and a plentiful estate, but has gained them also the greatest praise and honour and glory and dignity, then I cannot understand why envy should be more prompt to attack Lucius Cornelius, than your justice should to come to the assistance of his modesty. And therefore I do not ask of you what it is very important to ask, in order that I may not seem to throw any doubts on your wisdom or your humanity; but I must beg of you not to feel any hatred towards genius, not to be enemies of industry, not to think that humanity deserves to be oppressed, or virtue to be punished. This I beg also; that if you see that my client’s cause is of itself a sound and just one, you will allow his personal good qualities and accomplishments to be an assistance to him now that he is on his trial, rather than a hindrance.
VIII. The cause of Cornelius, O judges, arises from the law which Lucius Gellius and Cnæus Cornelius passed in accordance with the resolution of the senate. By that law we see that it is provided that those men shall be Roman citizens whom Cnæus Pompeius shall separately present with the freedom of the city in accordance with the opinion of his council. Pompeius here in court asserts that Lucius Cornelius was so presented with it. The public records prove this to be the fact: the prosecutor admits it. But he says that no man of a people joined to us by treaty was capable by law of becoming one of our citizens, unless his own people ratified the measure. Oh what a splendid interpreter of the law! what a fine authority on points of antiquity! what an admirable corrector and reformer of our state, to imagine that treaties impose such a penalty on those who are bound by them, as to make them all incapable of receiving our rewards and kindnesses! For what can possibly be said more ignorant than that it is requisite for the federate cities to ratify such a transaction? For that is not a right peculiar to federate cities, but to all free nations. But the whole of this, O judges, has at all times depended on this consideration, and on this intention,—that when the Roman people had ordered anything, if the allied peoples and the Latins had adopted and ratified it, and if the law which we had among ourselves was in this manner established among some people on a firm footing, then that people should be bound by the obligations of that law; not in such a manner as to detract in the least from our privileges, but that those nations might enjoy either than law which was established among us, or some other advantage and benefit.
Caius Furius, in the time of our ancestors, passed a law concerning wills. Quintus Voeonius passed another concerning the inheritances of women; innumerable other laws have been passed about civil law; the Latins have adopted whatever of them they have chosen; even by the Julian law itself, by which the rights of citizenship were given to the allies and to the Latins, it was decreed, that those people who did not ratify the law should not have the freedom of the city, which circumstance gave rise to a great contention among the people of Heraclea, and among the people of Neapolis,1 as a great part of the population in those states preferred the liberty which they enjoyed by virtue of their treaty with us to the rights of citizenship.
Lastly, this is the meaning both of that law and of that expression, that the peoples who do ratify it, enjoy its advantages owing to our kindness, and not owing to any right of their own.
When the Roman people has enacted anything, if it be a matter of that sort, that it appears it may be granted also to some other nations, whether joined to us by a treaty, or free to decide themselves which law they prefer using, not about our affairs, but about their own; then it seems necessary to inquire whether they have adopted and ratified our law, or not; but the senate never intended that those peoples should have the power of ratifying or declining to ratify measures which concern our republic, our empire, our wars, our victory, and our safety.2
IX. But if it is not to be lawful for our generals, and for the senate, and for the Roman people, by holding out rewards to them, to tempt all the bravest and most virtuous men out of the cities of our allies and friends to encounter dangers in behalf of our safety, then we shall be deprived of what is a most exceeding advantage to us, and of what has often been a very great protection and support to us in dangerous and critical times. But, in the name of the immortal gods! what sort of alliance, what sort of friendship, what sort of treaty is that, by virtue of which our city in its time of danger is to have no defender from Massilia, or from Gades, or from Saguntum; or, if there should arise an assistant to us from those cities, any one who may have aided our generals with the help afforded by his labour, or by his riches, or by his personal danger,—any one who may have often fought hand to hand in our ranks against our enemies, who may have repeatedly exposed himself to the weapons of the enemy, to battle for his life, to imminent death,—that such an one can by no possible means be rewarded with the honours contained in our rights of citizenship?
For it is a very serious consideration for the Roman people, if they are not to be able to avail themselves of the help of allies who are endued with any extraordinary virtue, and who may be willing to join themselves to us, and to consider our danger their own; and it is also an injurious and insulting thing towards the allies, and for those federate states that we are now discussing, that our most faithful and united allies should be shut out from these rewards and from these honours, which are open to our mercenary troops, which are open to our enemies, which are open often even to our slaves. For we see that mercenary troops in numbers from Africa, Sicily, Sardinia and other provinces have had the freedom of the city conferred on them, and we know that those enemies who have come over to our commanders, and have been of great use to our republic, have been made citizens; and lastly, that slaves,—beings whose rights, and fortune, and condition are the lowest of all,—who have deserved well of the republic, we see constantly presented publicly with liberty, that is to say, with the rights of citizenship.
X. Do you then, O you patron of all treaties and federate states, lay down this as the condition of the people of Gades, your fellow-citizens, that what is lawful for those nations which we have subdued with our arms, and reduced under our dominion, having the people of Gades for our assistants while doing so,—namely, that if the Roman people shall permit it, they may have the rights of citizenship conferred on them by the senate or by our generals,—is not to be lawful for the men of Gades themselves?
Suppose they had determined by their own decrees or laws, that no one of their fellow-citizens should enter the camp of a general of the Roman people; that no one should incur any personal risk or danger of his life in defence of our empire; that we should not be allowed to avail ourselves of the assistance of the people of Gades whenever we chose; and that in his private capacity no individual, being eminent for courage and valour, should dare to struggle to his own personal danger, in defence of our empire; we should naturally be very indignant at that, at the resources of the Roman people being diminished, at the courage of brave men being damped, and at our being deprived of the aid afforded us by the zeal of nations unconnected with us in our behalf, and by the valour of foreign peoples.
But it makes no difference, O judges, whether the federate states enact these laws, that no one shall be permitted to leave those states for the purpose of sharing in the dangers of our wars, or that those things cannot possibly be ratified which we have given to their citizens on account of their virtue. For we should not any the more have the advantage of these men for our assistants, if we once take away all the rewards of virtue, than we should if we were to make it absolutely unlawful for them to meddle at all in our laws. In truth, as, ever since the original birth of man, there have been but few men found, who, without any hope of reward, have been willing to expose their lives to the weapons of the enemy even for the sake of their own country, do you suppose that there will be any one who will expose himself to dangers in the defence of a republic with which he has not any connexion, when not only no reward is held out to him, but when all reward for such conduct is prohibited from being bestowed?
XI. But not only was that a most ignorant thing to say, which was said, about states ratifying and accepting our laws, as that is a privilege common to all free peoples, and not peculiar to federate cities; from which it must inevitably be understood, either that no one of the allies can be made a Roman citizen, or else that an inhabitant of the federate states may likewise be made one; but this great teacher of ours is ignorant also of the whole bearings of the law respecting a man’s change of citizenship; which, O judges, is a thing which is not only clearly laid down in the public laws, but which depends also on the inclination of individuals. For, according to our law, no one can change his city against his will, nor can he be prevented from changing it, if he pleases, provided only that he be adopted by that state of which he wishes to become a citizen. As, for instance, if the people of Gades passed a bill concerning any Roman citizen by name, that he should become a citizen of Gades, our citizen would in consequence of that bill acquire a complete power of changing his city, and would not be hindered by any treaty from becoming a citizen of Gades after having been a citizen of Rome.
According to our civil law, no one can be a citizen of two cities at the same time; a man cannot be a citizen of this city, who has dedicated himself to another city. And he may do so not only by dedication, which is a thing which we have seen happen in their misfortunes to most illustrious men, to Quintus Maximus, and Caius Lænas, and Quintus Philippus at Nuceria, and to Caius Cato at Tarraco, to Quintus Cæpio and Publius Rutilius at Smyrna, who all became citizens of those cities. (They could not lose their rights of citizenship here, before they had as it were changed their country by their change of citizenship.)
But a change of citizenship can also take place by a man’s returning to his original city. Nor was it without eason that a motion was submitted to the people concerning Cnæus Publicius Menander, a freedman, whom in the time of our ancestors some ambassadors of ours when going into Greece wished to take with them as an interpreter, that that Publicius if he returned to his home, and after that again came back to Rome, should still be a Roman citizen. For, in the recollection of earlier times, many Roman citizens of their own free will, not having been condemned by any process of law, nor having been in danger, have left our state and joined themselves as citizens to other cities.
XII. But if it is lawful for a Roman citizen to become a citizen of Gades, either by exile, or by a return to his original city, or by a discarding of his rights of citizenship here, (to come now to the treaty, which, however, in fact has nothing to do with the cause in hand; for what we are discussing is the right of citizenship, and not the treaties,) what reason is there why a citizen of Gades may not be allowed to become a citizen of this city? My opinion, indeed, goes quite the other way. For as there is a path from all cities to our city, and as the road to all other cities is open to our citizens, so also, in proportion as each city is more closely united with us in alliance and friendship, by agreement, and covenant, and treaty, the more does that state appear to me to be entitled to a participation in our kindness and in our rewards. NA* * *
But all other cities would without any hesitation receive our men into the rights of citizenship with them, if we also had the same laws that other nations have. But we cannot be citizens of this city and of any other city at the same time, though in all other cities this is allowed. Therefore, in the Greek cities we see that Rhodians, and Lacedæmonians, and men from all quarters, are enrolled among the citizens of Athens, and that the same individuals are citizens of many cities at the same time. And I have seen some ignorant men, citizens of ours, led by this mistake, sitting at Athens among the judges and members of the Areopagus, in a regular tribe and class of Athenian citizens, being ignorant that if they acquired the rights of citizenship there they lost their rights here, unless they recovered them by a subsequent return to their rights here, and a renunciation of the others. But no one who had any acquaintance with our laws or our customs, who wished to retain his rights as a citizen of Rome, ever dedicated himself to another city.
XIII. But the whole of this topic of my speech, and the whole of this discussion, O judges, has reference to the common right of changing one’s city; it has nothing in it which is peculiar to the religious observance of treaties. For I am defending the universal principle, that there is no nation on the whole face of the earth,—whether at variance with the Roman people through some quarrel and hatred, or, on the other hand, united with us by the closest loyalty and mutual good-will,—as to which we are forbidden to adopt any one of its citizens as our own, or to present any one of them with the freedom of our city. Oh how admirable are our laws, and with what god-like wisdom were they established by our ancestors from the very first beginning of the Roman name! especially the law that no one of our people can be a citizen of more than one city, (for it is inevitable that dissimilar states must have a great variety in their laws,) and that no one can be compelled against his will to change his city, nor against his will to remain a citizen of any city. For these are the firmest foundations of our liberty, that every individual should have it in his own power to retain or abandon his privileges.
And without any dispute, that has been the most solid foundation of our empire, and the thing which has above all others increased the renown of the Roman name, that that first man, the creator of this city, Romulus, taught by the treaty which he made with the Sabines, that it was expedient to increase the population of this city by the adoption of even enemies as citizens. And in compliance with his authority and with the precedent which he established, the presentation of the freedom of our city to others has never been interrupted by our ancestors. Therefore, many tribes from Latium, the people of Tusculum, the people of Lanuvium, and all other peoples of all other races, have been received into the privileges of our city;—as, for instance, the Sabines, the Hernici, and the Volsci; the citizens of which cities were not compelled to change the city to which they belonged, if they were unwilling to do so; nor if any of them had acquired the privileges of our citizens by the kindness of the Roman people, would the treaty made with them appear to have been violated.
XIV. But some treaties are in existence, as for instance those with the Germans, the Insubres, the Helvetians, and the lapidæ, and with some of the barbarian tribes in Gaul, in which there is a special exception made that no one of them is to be received by us as a citizen of Rome. And if the exception prevents such a step from being lawful, it is quite evident that it is lawful where there is no such exception made. Where, then, is the exception made in the treaty between us and the city of Gades, that the Roman people is not to receive any one of the citizens of Gades into their citizenship? Nowhere. And if there were any such clause, the Gellian and Cornelian law would have annulled it, which expressly gave to Pompeius a power of giving the freedom of the city to anybody whatever. “The whole treaty,” says the prosecutor, “is such an exception, because it was ratified with solemn oaths.” I can excuse you if you do not know much about the laws of the Carthaginians; for you had left your own city; and you were not able to examine our laws very strictly; for they prevented your having any opportunity of instituting such an examination by a public sentence.
What was there in that enactment which was passed concerning Pompeius by Gellius and Lentulus in their consulship, in which any exception appears to have been made of treaties which had been ratified by an oath? For, first of all, nothing can be ratified in such a manner, except what the burgesses or the common people have so ratified. In the second place, such ratifications are to be accounted sacred, either because of the form of ratification itself, or because the invocation of the gods and dedication of the law, NA* * * or else, because of some punishment to which the life of that man is devoted who acts in contravention of it. What argument, then, of this sort can you allege with respect to our treaty with the city of Gades?1 Do you assert that that treaty was solemnly ratified by the devotion of the life of any offender against it, or by any invocation of the gods to uphold the law? I assert, that nothing was ever submitted to the burgesses or to the common people with respect to that treaty, [I assert that no law was enacted, and no punishment appointed.]
When, therefore, even if it had been enacted that we were not to receive any man as a citizen, still that would have been ratified which the people enacted subsequently, nor would any exception have appeared to have been made by that expression, “If anything had been formally ratified by an oath,” do you venture to say that anything is formally ratified in this way, with respect to which the Roman people has never come to any decision at all?
XV. Nor, O judges, has this argument of mine any tendency to invalidate our treaty with the city of Gades. For it would not become me to say anything against the rights of a city which has deserved very well at our hands, against the invariable opinion of antiquity, and against the authority of the senate. For once, at a very critical period of this republic, when Carthage, being exceedingly powerful by sea and land, relying on the two Spains, was threatening this empire, and when those two thunderbolts of our empire, Cnæus and Publius Scipio, had suddenly perished in Spain, Lucius Marcius, a centurion1 of the first division, is said to have made a treaty with the people of Gades. And as this treaty was maintained more in consequence of the loyalty of that people, of our justice, and, indeed, of its own antiquity, than because it was ratified by any public bond of religion, the people of Gades, being wise men and well instructed in public law, when Marcus Lepidus and Quintus Catulus were consuls, made a request to the senate for a more regular treaty; and then the treaty was renewed or made (whichever you please to call it) with the men of Gades. And concerning that treaty the Roman people never recorded any vote; and they cannot possibly be bound by any religious obligation which has been contracted without their orders.
And so the city of Gades obtained what it was well entitled to obtain by its services done to our republic, by the testimony borne in its favour by our commanders, by the antiquity of its alliance with us, by the authority of Quintus Catulus, a most illustrious man, by the formal decision of the senate, and by a regular treaty; but it has not received any additional sanction from any public religious ceremonies of ratification. For the people has in no respect whatever bound itself,—nor is the cause of the men of Gades any the worse for that; for it is upheld by many, and those the very weightiest of circumstances. But, however, there is at present no room for that discussion; for nothing can be so ratified as to be sacred, unless it be something that has been adopted by the burgesses or by the common people.
XVI. But if this treaty, which the Roman people, with the authority of the senate, with the recommendation and decision of antiquity in its favour, approves not only by its tacit inclination, but also by its open expression of opinion, had been also sanctioned by its votes, what reason was there, from the words of the treaty itself, why it should not have been lawful to receive a citizen of Gades into our city? For there is nothing else provided for in the treaty except that there be a pious and everlasting peace. What has that to do with the rights of citizenship? That, also, is added which does not occur in every treaty:—“Preserve, with all courtesy and respect, the majesty of the Roman people.” And that expression carries this force with it, that it shows that the people of Gades is the inferior party in the treaty. First of all, the very description of word used, “Preserve,” which is a form that we are more accustomed to use in laws than in treaties, is an expression of one giving a command, not of one addressing an entreaty. In the next place, as the majesty of the one people is ordered to be preserved, and no mention is made of the other, most certainly that people is placed on the higher footing and in the superior condition whose majesty is defended by the sanction of the treaty. And in respect of this, the interpretation of the prosecutor is quite undeserving of any reply, who said, that the expression “with courtesy and respect,” meant the same as “respectively;” just as if he were explaining some ancient and nearly obsolete word. Men are called courteous, kind, affable, pleasant.
“A man who courteously points out the way to a wanderer;”—
goodnaturedly, not sulkily;—“respectively” has surely no connexion with the rest of the sentence, or with the subject.
And, at the same time, it is a perfect absurdity for a provision to be made in the treaty that they should “respectively” preserve the majesty of the Roman people; that is to say, that the Roman people is to wish its own majesty to be uninjured. And if it were so now, as it cannot be, still the fact would remain, that provision had been made for our majesty, but none at all for theirs. Can our majesty then be preserved with good feeling by the people of Gades, if we are not able to tempt the men of Gades by rewards to be anxious for its preservation? Can there, in fact, be any majesty at all, if we are prevented from availing ourselves of the consent of the Roman people to confer on our commander-in-chief the power of distributing honours and kindnesses as a reward of virtue?
XVII. But why am I arguing against statements which it would seem to me might be uttered with truth, if the people of Gades were speaking against me? for, if they were to demand back Lucius Cornelius, I should reply, that the Roman people had enacted a law with respect to giving the freedom of the city; and that there was no occasion, nor was it usual, for the entire people to ratify laws of this sort; that Cnæus Pompeius, in accordance with the advice of his council, had given the freedom of the city to this man, and that the people of Gades had no single law whatever of the Roman people in their favour. Therefore, that nothing had been sanctified by any peculiar solemnity, which appeared to be excepted against by the law; that if there were, still there had been no provision made in the treaty respecting anything but peace. That this clause also was added, that they were bound to preserve our majesty unimpaired; which certainly would be diminished, if it was unlawful either for us to avail ourselves of the citizens of those nations as assistants in our wars, or if we were to have no power whatever of rewarding them.
But, now, why should I speak against the people of Gades, when the very thing which I am defending is sanctioned by their desire, by their authority, and by a deputation which they have sent hither on purpose? For they, from the very first beginning of their existence as a separate people, and of their republic, have turned all their affections from zeal for the Carthaginians and eagerness in their cause, to the upholding of our empire and name. And accordingly, when the Carthaginians were waging most tremendous wars against us, they excluded them from their city, they pursued them with their fleets, they repelled them with their personal exertions, and with all their resources and power. They have at all times considered that phantom of a treaty made by Marcius as more inviolable than any citadel; and by this treaty and by that of Catulus, and by the authority of the senate, they have considered themselves as most intimately connected with us. Their ambition, and our ancestors’ wish, has been, that their walls, their temples, their lands, should be the boundaries of the Roman name and Roman empire, as Hercules wished them to be of his journeys and of his labours.
They invoke as witnesses our deceased generals, whose memory and glory survive for everlasting,—the Scipios, the Bruti, the Horatii, the Cassii, the Metelli, and this man also, Cnæus Pompeius, whom you see before you; whom, when he was carrying on a great and formidable war far from their walls, they assisted with supplies and money: and at this very time they invoke as witnesses the Roman people, whom now, at a time of great dearness of provisions, they have relieved with a large supply of corn, as they had often done before. They call them, I say, to witness, that they wish this to be their privilege,—to have a place permitted to them and to their children, whenever there are any of distinguished virtue in our camps, and in the tent of the general, and among our standards, and in our line of battle; and that by these steps they should have a power of rising up to the freedom of the city.
XVIII. And if it be lawful to Africans, to Sardinians, to Spaniards,—men who have been punished by the deprivation of their lands and by the imposition of tribute,—to acquire the rights of citizenship among us by their virtue, but if it be not allowed to the men of Gades, who are united to us by duty, and by the antiquity of their alliance with us, and by their loyalty, and by our mutual dangers, and by an express treaty, to acquire the same rights, then they will think that they have not a treaty with us, but that most iniquitous laws have been imposed on them by us. And, O judges, the very circumstances of this case show that this assertion is not one just invented by me for the purpose, but that I am saying what the men of Gades have instructed me to say. I say that the men of Gades publicly entered into a connexion of mutual hospitality many years before this time with Lucius Cornelius. I will produce witnesses, I will produce ambassadors who will prove this; I will bring forward panegyrists, whom you see here, having been sent expressly to this trial,—men of the highest character and of the most noble birth,—to seek to avert the danger of my client by their prayers. Lastly, by an act perfectly unheard-of among the people of Gades before this time, the moment that it was known that the prosecutor was preparing to bring Balbus before this court, the men of Gades passed most solemn resolutions of their senate respecting their own fellow-citizen. Could the people of Gades have ratified this act of Pompeius more decidedly, (since I have taken a great fancy to the expression,)—if what is meant by ratifying is, to approve of our decrees and commands by its decision,—than when it enters into connexions of hospitality for the express purpose of admitting, by so doing, that Balbus had changed his city, and of showing that it considered him entirely worthy of the honour of this city? Was it possible for it to exhibit its own opinion and inclination more undeniably, than when it imposed a fine and a penalty on my client’s prosecutor? Was it possible for it to give its decision on the subject more plainly, than when it sent its most honourable citizens as deputies to this trial which is now taking place before you, to be the witnesses of Balbus’s rights, and the panegyrists of his conduct through life, and his saviours from danger by their prayers?
In truth, who is there so insane as not to perceive that it is an object with the men of Gades to retain this right, and to prevent the road to this the most honourable reward which the city can confer from being closed against them for ever? and that they have cause to rejoice exceedingly that this goodwill of Lucius Cornelius towards his friends is still in existence at Gades, and that his interest and power of serving his friends is now settled in this city? For who is there of us to whom that city of Gades is not the more recommended owing to his zeal and care and diligence?
XIX. I say nothing of the great distinction with which Caius Cæsar, when he was prætor in Spain, loaded that people;—how he put an end to their disputes; how he established laws among them with their own permission; how he eradicated from the manners and customs of the citizens of Gades a sort of barbarism that had become almost inveterate among them; and how, at the request of this my client, he displayed the greatest zeal for, and conferred the greatest services on, that city. I pass over many things which they obtain every day in consequence of this man’s exertions and zeal, either wholly, or at all events with more facility than they otherwise would have done. Therefore, the chief men of the city are here to stand by him and to defend him: with affection, as being their fellow-citizen; with their evidence, as a citizen of ours; with kindness, as one who is now their most religiously-connected friend, from having been one of their noblest citizens; and with earnestness, as a most diligent advocate of all their interests.
And that the people of Gades may not think,—although they suffer no actual personal inconvenience,—if it is lawful for their citizens to acquire the freedom of our city as a reward for their virtue, that still in this respect their treaty is a more unfavourable one than that which has been made with the other states, I will console those who are present here,—most excellent men,—and also that city which has ever been most faithful and most friendly to us; and at the same time I will put you in mind, O judges, though you are not ignorant of the truth, that there has never hitherto been the slightest doubt expressed about that privilege concerning which this trial has been appointed.
Who, then, are the men whom we consider the wisest interpreters of treaties, and the men of the greatest experience in military law, and the most diligent authorities in examining into the different conditions and states of towns? Surely those men who have already been placed in command and have had the conduct of wars.
XX. In truth, if that celebrated augur, Quintus Scævola, when he was consulted about the laws relating to mortgages;—a man most skilful in law,—occasionally referred those who consulted him to Furius and Cascellius, as men who had invested their money in such securities; and if we, in the transaction referring to our aqueduct, consulted Marcus Tugio, rather than Caius Aquillius, because constant practice devoted to one particular line of business often proves superior to ability and to general information, who can hesitate to prefer our generals to all the most experienced lawyers on earth in any case respecting treaties, and the whole state of the law of peace and war? May I not, therefore, mention, with your approbation, Caius Marius, the original author of that conduct and of that precedent which is found so much fault with by you? Do you require any more weighty example? any one of more consistent wisdom? any one more eminent for virtue and prudence, and conscientiousness and equity? Did he, then, confer the freedom of the city on Marcus Annius Appius, a most gallant man, and one endued with the most admirable virtue, when he knew that the treaty made with Camertum had been most solemnly ratified, and was in all respects a most equitable one? Is it possible, then, O judges, that Lucius Cornelius should be condemned, without condemning also the conduct of Caius Marius?
Let, then, that great man be present for a while to your thoughts, as he cannot appear before you in reality, so that you may behold him with your minds whom you cannot behold with your eyes. Let him state to you that he has not been altogether unversed in treaties, nor wholly inexperienced in the nature of precedents, nor entirely ignorant of war; that he was the pupil and soldier of Publius Africanus; that he was trained in campaigns and in many warlike lieutenancies; that if he had read of as many wars as he has served in and conducted, and brought to a termination,—that if he had served under consuls as often as he himself was consul, he might have learnt and become thoroughly acquainted with all the laws of war; that he never doubted for a moment that no treaty could hinder him from doing anything which was for the advantage of the republic; that he carefully selected all the bravest men out of every city which was closely connected with and friendly to us; that none of the people of Iguvium or of Camertum were excepted by treaty, so that their citizens were incapable of receiving from the Roman people the rewards of their virtue.
XXI. Therefore, when, a few years after this present of the freedom of the city, a very important and strenuously-contested question arose concerning the rights of citizenship according to the provisions of the Licinian and Mucian law was any prosecution instituted against any one of those men of the federate states who had had the freedom of the city conferred on him? For Titus Matrinius, of Spoletum, one of those men whom Caius Marius had presented with the freedom of the city, was indeed prosecuted, being a man of a Latin colony, which was among the first for vigour and high character. And when Lucius Antistius, a very eloquent man, prosecuted him, he never said that the people of Spoletum had not ratified the deed of Marius; for he saw that states were accustomed to ratify laws which concerned their own rights, not those which affected ours. But as colonies had not been established by the law of Appuleius, by which law Saturninus had carried, in favour of Marius, a proposition that he should have authority to make three Roman citizens in every colony, he said that this power which was so granted could have no validity, since the case for which it had been intended to provide did not exist.
There is no resemblance to this case in the present prosecution. But still so great was the authority of Caius Marius, that he did not employ the oratory of Lucius Crassus, his own relation, a man of extraordinary eloquence, but himself in a few words defended his conduct with the weight and wisdom which belonged to him, and proved his case to everybody’s satisfaction. For who could there be, O judges, who would wish that the power of selecting men for distinction on account of their valour in war, in the line of battle, and in the army, should be taken from our generals; or that all hope of rewards for the energy shown in defending the republic should be taken from our allies, and from the federate states? But if the countenance of Caius Marius, and his voice,—if that quickness of eye so advantageous to a general,—if his recent triumphs, and the authority of his presence, had such influence, then let his authority, and his exploits, and his memory, and the undying name of that most illustrious man, prevail still. Let there be this difference between agreeable citizens and brave ones,—that the former, while living, may have all the enjoyment of their influence, but that the authority of the latter may flourish without decay even after they are dead themselves, (if indeed any defender of this empire can be properly said to die at all.)
XXII. What? Did not Cnæus Pompeius, the father of this man, after he had performed mighty achievements in the Italian war, present Publius Cæsius, a Roman knight and a virtuous man, who is still alive, a native of Ravenna, a city of a federate state, with the freedom of the city of Rome? What? did he not give the same gift also to two entire troops of the Camertines? What? Did not Publius Crassus, that most distinguished man, give the same gift to Alexas, the Heraclean, a man of that city with which there was a treaty, such as I may almost say there is no other instance of, made in the time of Pyrrhus, by Caius Fabricius, the consul? What? Did not Sylla do the same to Aristo of Massilia? What? Since we are speaking of the people of Gades, did not that same man1 make nine men of the citizens of Gades, citizens of Rome at the same time? What? Did not that most scrupulously correct man, that most conscientious and modest man, Quintus Metellus Pius, give the freedom of the city to Quintus Fabius, of Saguntum? What? Did not this very man who is here in court, by whom all these cases, which I am now lightly running over, were all most carefully wrought up and set before you; did not Marcus Crassus give the freedom of the city to a man of Aletrium, which is a federate town,—Marcus Crassus, I say, a man not only eminent for wisdom and sobriety of conduct, but also one who is usually even too sparing in admitting men as citizens of Rome? And do you now attempt to disparage Cnæus Pompeius’s kindness, or I should rather say, his discretion and conduct, in doing what he had heard that Caius Marius had done; and what he had actually seen done in his own town by Publius Crassus, by Lucius Sylla, by Quintus Metellus; and, though last not least, what he had a family precedent for in his own father? Nor was Cornelius the only instance of his doing this. For he also presented Hasdrubal, of Saguntum, after that important war in Africa, and several of the Mamertines2 who came across him, and some of the inhabitants of Utica, and the Fabii from Saguntum, with the freedom of the city.
In truth, as those men are worthy of all other rewards too who defend our republic with their personal exertions and at the expense of their own personal danger, so certainly those men are of all others the most worthy of being presented with the freedom of the city, in defence of which they have encountered dangers and wounds. And I wish that those men in all quarters of the world who are the defenders of this empire, could all enter this city as citizens; and, on the other hand, that all the enemies of the republic could be got rid of out of it. Nor, indeed, did that great poet of our country intend that exhortation, which he put into the mouth of Hannibal, to be peculiarly his language, but rather the common address of all generals,—
And from what country an ally comes, all men consider and always have considered unimportant. Therefore, they have at all times adopted brave men as citizens from all quarters, and have often preferred the valour of men who may have been meanly born, to the inactivity of the nobility.
XXIII. You have before you the interpretation put upon the law and upon treaties by the most consummate generals, by the wisest men, and the most illustrious citizens. I will add now that given by the judges who presided at this investigation; I will add that of the whole Roman people; I will add the most conscientious and sensible decision of the senate. When the judges were stating openly and were explaining without any disguise what they intended to decide with respect to the Papian law in the case of Marcus Crassus, when the Mamertines claimed him back as a citizen of theirs, the Mamertines, though they had commenced the cause under the sanction of the public authority of their state, abandoned it. Many men who had been admitted to the freedom of this city from the free states, or the federate cities, were released from all apprehension on the subject. No one was ever prosecuted on account of his rights as a citizen, either because his own state had not ratified his admission, or because his right to change his city was hindered by any treaty. I will venture also to assert even this; that no one ever lost his action who was proved to have been presented with the freedom of the city by any one of our generals.
Listen now to the decision of the Roman people, given on many different occasions, and approved of in the most important causes, in consequence both of the facts of the case, and of precedent. Who is there that does not know that a treaty was made with all the Latins in the consulship of Spurius Cassius and Postumus Cominius? Which, indeed, we recollect to have been in existence till quite lately, engraved and written on a brazen column at the back of the rostra. How then was Lucius Cossinius, a man of Tibur, the father of our present Roman knight of the same name, a most excellent and most accomplished man, after Titus Cœlius had been condemned; and how was Titus Coponius, of the same city, he also being a citizen of the very greatest virtue and dignity, (his grandsons Titus and Caius Coponius you are all acquainted with,) after Caius Masso had been condemned, made a Roman citizen? Are we going to affirm that the path to the freedom of the city is open to eloquence and genius, but shall not be open to courage and virtue? Was it lawful for the federate states to acquire spoils from us, and shall it not be lawful for them to carry them off from the enemy? Or shall it be impossible for them to acquire by fighting what they are enabled to acquire by speaking? Or did our ancestors intend that the rewards of a prosecutor should be greater than those of a warrior?
XXIV. But if by that most severe Servilian law, the chief men of the city, men of the greatest dignity, citizens of the most profound wisdom, allowed this road to the freedom of the city to be opened, in accordance with the resolution of the people, to the Latins, that is to say to the federate states, and if this was found no fault with by the Licinian and Mucian law, especially when the very nature and name of a prosecution, and the reward which no one could obtain except through the misfortune of some senator,1 could not be over pleasant either to a senator or to any virtuous man; was it possible to doubt that the decisions of our generals were to be of force with respect to that kind of reward in which the decisions of the judges had already been ratified? Do we suppose, then, that the sanction of the Latin tribes was given to the Servilian law, or to the other laws in which the reward of the freedom of the city was held out to men of the Latin towns, as an encouragement to such and such conduct?
Listen now to the decision of the senate, which has at all times been approved of by the decision of the people. Our ancestors, O judges, ordained that the sacred rites of Ceres should be performed with the very strictest religious reverence and the greatest solemnity; which, as they had been originally derived from the Greeks, had always been conducted by Grecian priestesses, and were called Grecian rites. But when they were selecting a priestess from Greece to teach us that Greek sacred ceremony, and to perform it, still they thought it right that it should be a citizen who was sacrificing for citizens, in order that she might pray to the immortal gods with knowledge, indeed, derived from a distant and foreign source, but with feelings belonging to one of our own people and citizens. I see that these priestesses were for the most part Neapolitans or Velians, and those are notoriously federate cities. I am not speaking of any ancient cases; I am only mentioning things that have happened lately; as, for instance, that before the freedom of the city was conferred on the Velians, Caius Valerius Flaccus, being the city prætor, did, in accordance with a resolution passed by the senate, submit a motion to the people concerning a woman of Velia, called Calliphana, mentioning her expressly by name, for the purpose of making her a Roman citizen. Are we then to suppose that the Velians ratified the law which was then passed about her; or that that priestess was not made a Roman citizen; or that the treaty was violated by the senate and people of Rome?
XXV. I am aware, O judges, that in a cause that is so plain and so little liable to any doubt, many more arguments have been adduced and more men of great experience have spoken than the case at all required. But that has been done, not in order by our speaking to prove to you a matter which required proof so little, but in order to check the hostile disposition of all spiteful, and wicked, and envious men, whom the prosecutor has sought to inflame, hoping that some of the reports current among men who grieve over the prosperity of another might reach your ears, and have their effect on the result of this trial; and on that account you saw aspersions scattered about with great art in every part of his speech; especially with respect to the riches of Lucius Cornelius, which do not deserve to be brought into odium, and which, whatever their amount may be, are such as to seem to have been rather acquired by care than by any illicit or unfair means; and with respect to his luxury, which he attacked, not by bringing any definite charge of licentiousness against him, but by mere general abuse. Then, too, he attacked him about his farm at Tusculum, which he recollected had belonged to Quintus Metellus, and to Lucius Crassus; but he was not aware that Crassus had bought it of a man who was a freedman, Sotericus Marcius by name; that it had come to Metellus as part of the property of Venonius Vindicius; and also, he did not know that lands do not belong to any particular family, that they are accustomed to pass by sale to strangers, often even to the very lowest people, not being protected by the laws like guardianships. It has been imputed to him also that he has become one of the tribe Crustumina, a privilege which he obtained by means of the law concerning bribery, and which is less invidious than the advantages acquired by those men who, by the assistance of the laws, obtain the power of delivering their opinion as prætor, and of wearing the prætexta. And then, too, the adoption of Theophanus was discussed; by means of which Cornelius gained nothing beyond being confirmed in his possession of the inheritances of his own relations.
XXVI. Although it is not a very difficult matter to propitiate the minds of those men who themselves are envious of Cornelius. They show their envy in the ordinary way; they attack him at their feasts; they abuse him at their conversaziones; they carp at him, not in a downright hostile spirit, but in a disparaging manner. They who are enemies to the friends of Lucius Cornelius, or who envy them, are much more greatly to be feared by him. For who has ever been found who would confess himself an enemy to the man himself? Or who could be so with any reason? What good man has he not cultivated the friendship of? Who is there whose fortune and dignity he has not promoted? Living in the closest intimacy with the most influential man in the state, at a time of our greatest misfortunes and most bitter dissensions, he has never offended any one of either party, either by act or word, or even by a look. It was my fate, or the fate of the republic, that the whole weight of distress and ill-will at that time should fall upon me alone. Cornelius was so far from exulting in my disasters or in your dissensions, that while I was absent he aided all my friends with his kind assistance, with his tears, with his exertions, and with consolation. And I have been induced by their testimony in his behalf, and by their entreaties, to offer him my service now, which he has so well deserved, and which on my part is only a repayment of just and reasonable gratitude. And I hope, O judges, as you love and consider dear to you those men who were the chief agents in my preservation and safety, and in the restoration of my dignity, that so also the things which were done by this man to the extent of his power and of the opportunities which were afforded him, will be grateful to and approved of by you. He, then, is not now attacked by his own enemies, for he has none, but by those of his friends; enemies who are both numerous and powerful; men whom yesterday Cnæus Pompeius, in a very eloquent and dignified oration, desired to come forward and contend with him if they chose, but to abandon the unequal contest and unjust persecution which they were carrying on against this man.
XXVII. And it was a fair condition, and one very advantageous, O judges, for us and for all those who are connected with us in intimacy, that we should carry on our own enmities against one another as we chose, but that we should spare the friends of our enemies. And if my authority had in this matter much weight with those men, especially as they see that I am well instructed in such matters, both by the variety of circumstances in which I have found myself, and by special experience in cases of this sort, I would exhort them to give up even those greater dissensions. For I have at all times considered it the part both of fearless citizens and of virtuous men, to labour in the administration of the affairs of the republic in such a way as to defend whatever one really thinks best; nor have I myself ever failed in this labour or duty or line of exertion. But contention is only wise so long as it either does some good, or, if it does not do any good, at all events does no harm to the state. We ourselves have had wishes, we have urged points; we have tried to carry measures, and we have not succeeded. Other men have felt indignation; we have undergone real sorrow and distress. Why should we choose to destroy those things which exist rather than to preserve them, merely because we are not allowed to alter them exactly as we wish? The senate complimented Caius Cæsar with the most honourable distinction of a supplication lasting for a number of days which was quite unprecedented. The senate again, though at a time when the treasury was in great difficulties, gave his victorious army a large sum for pay, appointed ten lieutenants to assist the commander-in-chief at his request, and by the Sempronian law decided not to send any one to supersede him. Of all these resolutions, I was the prime mover and the chief author; nor did I think myself bound to preserve a consistency with the previous differences which I had had with him, rather than to consult what was advantageous with regard to the present necessities of the republic and to unanimity. Other men may perhaps think differently. They are, maybe, firmer in their opinions. I find fault with no one; but I do not agree with all of them. Nor do I think it any proof of inconsistency to regulate one’s opinions, as one would do a ship or a ship’s course on a voyage, according to the weather which might be prevailing in the republic.
But if there be any people who never abandon any dislike which they have ever conceived against anybody,—(and I see that there are some such people,)—then let them fight with the leaders themselves, not with their train and followers. Some of them, perhaps, will consider that conduct obstinacy, and some will think it courage; but this attacking of the subordinate parties all will look upon as injustice, mixed with some little cruelty. But if there be some men, O judges, whose minds we cannot propitiate by any means whatever, at all events we feel sure that your inclinations are favourable to us, not because of our speeches, but because of your own natural humanity.
XXVIII. For, what reason is there why the intimate friendship of Cæsar should not avail to procure this my client the highest praise rather than the very slightest injury? Cæsar knew him when a young man; he, that most able man, thought highly of him, and though he had a most excessive multitude of friends, Balbus was accounted by him one of his most intimate friends of all. In his prætorship and in his consulship he appointed him prefect of the engineers; he thought highly of his prudence, he loved him for his integrity, he was grateful to him for his constant assistance and attention. He was at different times the partner of very many of his labours; he is perhaps even now the partaker of some of his benefits. And if they are to be an injury to my client in your judgment, I do not see what is ever to be an advantage to any one before such judges.
But since Caius Cæsar is a great distance off, and is now in those places which, if we regard their situation, are the boundaries of the world, or, if we regard his exploits, of the Roman empire, do not, I entreat you in the name of the immortal gods, O judges, do not allow such bitter news to be taken to him, as that his own prefect of engineers, the man of all others most dear to and most intimate with him, is crushed by your decision, not on account of any offence of his own, but because of his intimacy with him. Pity the man who is now before the court at his own peril, not on account of any offence of his own, but because of the action of this great and most illustrious man,—who is contesting not any charge which is brought against him, but a point of public law and of general interest. And if Cnæus Pompeius, and Publius Crassus, and Quintus Metellus, and Cnæus Pompeius the father of this man, and Lucius Sylla, and Marcus Crassus, and Caius Marius, and the senate and people of Rome, and all those who have ever given a decision under similar circumstances, and the federate states, and the allies, and those ancient men of the Latin tribes whom I have mentioned, are all ignorant of this law, consider whether it may not be more advantageous and honourable for you to err with those men for your guides, than to be rightly instructed with this man for your teacher.
But if you see that you are now come to a decision about a law which is certain, and clear, and advantageous, and well established and determined, then beware of establishing any new principle in a case which has been so long and so repeatedly decided on. And at the same time, O judges, place all these considerations before you:—first of all, that all those most illustrious men who have ever given any man of a federate city the freedom of this city, are now on their trial after death; secondly, that the senate is so too, which has repeatedly decided in favour of such an act, and the people which has voted it, and the judges who have approved of it. Then consider this also, that Cornelius does live and always has lived in such a manner, that, though investigations are appointed for every imaginable offence, still he is now brought before the court, not for the sake of any punishment which is sought to be inflicted on his vices, but for that of the rewards which have been conferred on his virtue. Add this consideration also; that you by your decision are about to determine whether you choose that for the future the friendship of illustrious men should be a calamity to men, or an ornament. Lastly of all, O judges, keep this fixed in your minds, that in this action you are about to decide, not on any crime imputed to Lucius Cornelius, but on a kindness shown by Cnæus Pompeius.
[1 ]The modern Cadiz.
[1 ]Orellius considers the text here as hopelessly corrupt, I have translated the reading of Hottomann, which Orellius approves, and gives in his note.
[1 ]Now Naples.
[2 ]In the seventh century of Rome the terms fæderatæ civitates, fæderati socii, expressed those Italian states which were connected with Rome by a treaty. These names did not include Roman colonies or Latin colonies, or any place which had obtained the Roman civitas, or rights of citizenship. They were independent states, yet under a general liability to furnish a contingent to the Roman army. It was the discontent among the fæderati, and their claim to be admitted to the privileges of Roman citizens, that led to the Social war.
[1 ]There is a good deal of corruption and conjecture in the text here, and whatever reading may be adopted, the sense is far from plain.
[1 ]“Polybius, in the fragments of the sixth book, has left an accurate account of the election of centurions. From each division of the legion, i. e. hastati principes, and triarii, they elect ten men in order of merit to command in their own division. After this a second election of a like number takes place, in all sixty, who are called centurions. The centurions of the first election usually command the right of the maniple; but if either of the two is absent, the whole command of the maniple devolves on the other. He who is chosen first is admitted to the councils of the general (primipilus). The primipilus was the first centurion of the first maniple of the Triarii. He was entrusted with the care of the eagle, and had the right of attending the councils of the general.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. v. Centurio.
[1 ]There is some great corruption in the text here.
[2 ]There is probably corruption in both these names; especially in the latter. The Mamertines were a people of Sicily.
[1 ]Orcllius considers all this sentence corrupt and unintelligible.