Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF L. MURENA, PROSECUTED FOR BRIBERY. - Orations vol. 2: Three Orations on the Agrarian Law, the four against Cataline, the Orations for Rabirius Murena, Sylla, Archias, Flaccus, Scaurus, etc
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THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF L. MURENA, PROSECUTED FOR BRIBERY. - Marcus Tullius Cicero, Orations vol. 2: Three Orations on the Agrarian Law, the four against Cataline, the Orations for Rabirius Murena, Sylla, Archias, Flaccus, Scaurus, etc 
The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, trans. C.D. Yonge (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1913-21). Vol. 2.
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THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF L. MURENA, PROSECUTED FOR BRIBERY.
Lucius Murena was one of the consuls elect; the other being Silanus, the brother-in-law of Cato. Cato, however, instigated Sulpicius, one of the most eminent lawyers in Rome, and a defeated competitor for the consulship, to prosecute Murena for bribery, under the new law passed by Cicero, (mentioned in the argument to the first oration against Catiline,) though he brought no charge against Silanus, who was as guilty as Murena, if there was any guilt at all. Murena had served as lieutenant to Lucullus in the Mithridatic war. Murena was defended by Crassus, Hortensius, and Cicero. We have neither of the speeches of his other advocates; and even the speech of Cicero is not in a perfect state. Murena was unanimously acquitted, partly perhaps from consideration of the argument which Cicero dwelt upon very earnestly, of what great importance it was, at such a perilous time, (for this oration was spoken in the interval between the flight of Catiline to the camp of Manlius, and the final detection and condemnation of the conspirators who remained behind,) to have a consul of tried bravery and military experience. It is remarkable that Sulpicius, the prosecutor, was a most intimate friend of Cicero, who had exerted all his influence to procure his election in this very contest for the consulship; and so also was Cato; nor did the opposition which Cicero made to them in this case cause any interruption to their intimacy, and we shall find, in the Philippics, Cicero exerting himself to procure public funeral honours for Sulpicius.
I. What I entreated of the immortal gods, O judges, according to the manners and institutions of our ancestors, on that day when, after taking the auspices in the comitia centuriata,1 I declared Lucius Murena to have been elected consul,—namely, that that fact might turn out gloriously and happily for me and for my office, and for the Roman nation and people—that same thing do I now pray for from the same immortal gods, that the consulship may be obtained by that same man with safety, and that your inclinations and opinions may agree with the wishes and suffrages of the Roman people, and that that fact may bring to you and to the Roman people peace, tranquillity, ease, and unanimity. And if that solemn prayer of the comitia, consecrated under the auspices of the consul, has as much power and holy influence as the dignity of the republic requires, I pray also that the matter may turn out happily, fortunately, and prosperously to those men to whom the consulship was given when I presided over the election.
And as this is the case, O judges, and as all the power of the immortal gods is either transferred to, or at all events is shared with you, the same consul recommends him now to your good faith who before recommended him to the immortal gods; so that he being both declared consul and being defended by the voice of the same man, may uphold the kindness of the Roman people to your safety and that of all the citizens. And since in this duty which I have undertaken the zeal of my defence has been found fault with by the accusers, and even the very fact of my having undertaken the cause at all, before I begin to say anything of Lucius Murena, I will say a few words on behalf of myself; not because at this time the defence of my duty seems to me more important than that of his safety, but in order that, when what I have done is approved of by you, I may be able with the greater authority to repel the attacks of his enemies upon his honour, his reputation, and all his fortunes.
II. And first of all I will answer Marcus Cato, a man who directs his life by a certain rule and system, and who most carefully weighs the motives of every duty, about my own duty. Cato says it is not right, that I who have been consul and the very passer1 of the law of bribery and corruption, and who behaved so rigorously in my own consulship, should take up the cause of Lucius Murena; and his reproach has great weight with me, and makes me desirous to make not only you, O judges, whom I am especially bound to satisfy, out also Cato himself, a most worthy and upright man, approve the reasons of my action. By whom then, O Marcus Cato, is it more just that a consul should be defended than by a consul? Who can there be, who ought there to be, dearer to me in the republic, than he to whom the republic which has been supported by my great labours and dangers is delivered by me alone to be supported for the future? For if, in the demanding back things which may be alienated, he ought to incur the hazard of the trial who has bound himself by a legal obligation, surely still more rightly in the trial of a consul elect, that consul who has declared him consul ought most especially to be the first mover of the kindness of the Roman people, and his defender from danger.
And if, as is accustomed to be done in some states, an advocate were appointed to this cause by the public, that man would above all others be assigned to one invested with honours as his defender, who having himself enjoyed the same honour, brought to his advocacy no less authority than ability. But if those who are being wafted from the main into harbour are wont with the greatest care to inform those who are sailing out of harbour, of the character of storms, and pirates, and of places, because nature prompts us to favour those who are entering on the same dangers which we have passed through, of what disposition ought I to be, who after having been much tossed about am now almost in sight of land, towards him by whom I see the greatest tempests of the republic about to be encountered? Wherefore, if it is the part of a virtuous consul not only to see what is being done, but to foresee what is likely to happen, I will show in another place how much it is for the interest of the common safety that there should be two consuls in the republic on the first of January. And if that be the case, then it is not so much my duty which ought to summon me to defend the fortunes of a man who is my friend, as the republic which ought to invite the consul to the defence of the common safety.
III. For as to my having passed a law concerning bribery and corruption, certainly I passed it so as not to abrogate that law which I have long since made for myself concerning defending my fellow-citizens from dangers. If, indeed, I confessed that a largess had been distributed, and were to defend it as having been rightly done, I should be acting wrongly, even if another had passed the law; but when I am saying in defence that nothing has been done contrary to law, then what reason is there that my having passed the law should be an obstacle to my undertaking the defence?
He says that it does not belong to the same severity of character, to have banished from the city by words, and almost by express command, Catiline, when planning the destruction of the republic within its very walls, and now to speak on behalf of Lucius Murena. But I have always willingly acted the part of lenity and clemency, which nature itself has taught me; but I have not sought the character of severity and rigour; but I have supported it when imposed upon me by the republic, as the dignity of this empire required at the time of the greatest peril to the citizens. But if then, when the public required vigour and severity, I overcame my nature, and was as severe as I was forced to be, not as I wished to be; now, when all causes invite me to mercy and humanity, with what great zeal ought I to obey my nature and my usual habits? and concerning my duty of defending, and your method of prosecuting, perhaps I shall have again to speak in another part of my speech.
But, O judges, the complaint of Servius Sulpicius, a most wise and accomplished man, moved me no less than the accusation of Cato; for he said that he was exceedingly and most bitterly vexed that I had forgotten my friendship and intimacy with him, and was defending the cause of Lucius Murena against him. I wish, O judges, to satisfy him, and to make you arbitrators between us. For as it is a sad thing to be accused with truth in a case of friendship, so, even if you be falsely accused, it is not to be neglected. I, O Servius Sulpicius, both allow that according to my intimacy with you I did owe you all my zeal and activity to assist you in your canvass, and I think I displayed it. When you stood for the consulship, nothing on my part was wanting to you which could have been expected either from a friend, or from an obliging person, or from a consul. That time has gone by,—the case is changed. I think, and am persuaded, that I owed you as much aid as ever you have ventured to require of me against the advancement of Lucius Murena; but no aid at all against his safety. Nor does it follow, because I stood by you when you were a candidate for the consulship, that on that account I ought now to be an assistant to you in the same way, when you are attacking Murena himself. And this is not only not praiseworthy,—it is not even allowable, that we may not defend even those who are most entirely strangers to us when our friends accuse them.
IV. But, in truth, there is, O judges, between Murena and myself an ancient and great friendship, which shall not be overwhelmed in a capital trial by Servius Sulpicius, merely because it was overcome by superior considerations when he was contesting an honourable office with that same person. And if this cause had not existed, yet the dignity of the man, and the honourable nature of that office which he has obtained, would have branded me with the deepest reproach of pride and cruelty, if in so great a danger I had repudiated the cause of a man so distinguished by his own virtues and by the honours paid him by the Roman people. For it is not now in my power,—it is not possible, for me to shrink from devoting my labour to alleviate the dangers of others. For when such rewards have been given me for this diligence of mine, such as before now have never been given to any one, to abandon those labours by which I have earned them, as soon as I have received them, would be the act of a crafty and ungrateful man.
If, indeed, I may rest from my labours,—if you advise me that I can do so,—if no reproach of indolence, none of unworthy arrogance, none of inhumanity is incurred by so doing, in good truth I will willingly rest. But if flying from toil convicts me of laziness,—if rejection of suppliants convicts me of arrogance,—if neglect of my friends is a proof of worthlessness, then, above all others, this cause is such an one as no industrious, or merciful, or obliging man can abandon. And you may easily form your opinion of this matter, O Servius, from your own pursuits. For if you think it necessary to give answers to even the adversaries of your friends when they consult you about law, and if you think it shameful, when you have been retained as an advocate for him in whose cause you have come forward, to fail; be not so unjust, as, when your springs are open even to your enemies, to think it right that our small streams should be closed even against our friends.
Forsooth, if my intimacy with you had prevented my appearing in this cause, and if the same thing had happened to Quintus Hortensius and Marcus Crassus, most honourable men, and to others also by whom I know that your affection is greatly esteemed, the consul elect would have had no defender in that city in which our ancestors intended that even the lowest of the people should never want an advocate. But I, O judges, should think myself wicked if I had failed my friend,—cruel if I had failed one in distress,—arrogant if I had failed the consul. So that what ought to be given to friendship shall be abundantly given by me; so that I will deal with you, O Servius, as if my brother, who is the dearest of all men to me, stood in your place. What ought to be given to duty, to good faith, to religion, that I will so regulate as to recollect that I am speaking contrary to the wish of one friend to defend another friend from danger.
V. I understand, O judges, that this whole accusation is divided into three parts; and that one of them refers to finding fault with Murena’s habits of life, another to his contest for the dignity, and a third to charges of bribery and corruption. And of these three divisions, that first, which ought to have been the weightiest of all, was so weak and trifling, that it was rather some general rule of accusing, than any real occasion for finding fault, which prompted them to say anything about the way of life of Lucius Murena. For Asia has been mentioned as a reproach to him, which was not sought by him for the sake of pleasure and luxury, but was traversed by him in the performance of military labours; but if he while a young man had not served under his father when general, he would have seemed either to have been afraid of the enemy, or of the command of his father, or else to have been repudiated by his father. Shall we say that, when all the sons who wear the prætexta1 are accustomed to sit on the chariot of those who are celebrating a triumph, this man ought to have shunned adorning the triumph of his father with military gifts, so as almost to share his father’s triumph for exploits which they had performed in common?
But this man, O judges, both was in Asia and was a great assistance to that bravest of men, his own father, in his dangers, a comfort to him in his labours, a source of congratulation to him in his victory. And if Asia does carry with it a suspicion of luxury, surely it is a praiseworthy thing, not never to have seen Asia, but to have lived temperately in Asia. So that the name of Asia should not have been objected to Lucius Murena, a country whence renown was derived for his family, lasting recollection for his race, honour and glory for his name, but some crime or disgrace, either incurred in Asia, or brought home from Asia. But to have served campaigns in that war which was not only the greatest but the only war which the Roman people was waging at that time, is a proof of valour; to have served most willingly under his father, who was commander-in-chief, is a proof of piety; that the end of his campaign was the victory and triumph of his father, is a proof of good fortune. There is, therefore, no room in these matters for speaking ill of him, because praise takes up the whole room.
VI. Cato calls Lucius Murena a dancer. If this be imputed to him truly, it is the reproach of a violent accuser; but if falsely, it is the abuse of a scurrilous railer. Wherefore, as you are a person of such influence, you ought not, O Marcus Cato, to pick up abusive expressions out of the streets, or out of some quarrel of buffoons; you ought not rashly to call a consul of the Roman people a dancer; but to consider with what other vices besides that man must be tainted to whom that can with truth be imputed. For no man, one may almost say, ever dances when sober, unless perhaps he be a madman, nor in solitude, nor in a moderate and sober party; dancing is the last companion of prolonged feasting, of luxurious situation, and of many refinements. You charge me with that which must necessarily be the last of all vices, you say nothing of those things without which this vice absolutely cannot exist: no shameless feasting, no improper love, no carousing, no lust, no extravagance is alleged; and when those things which have the name of pleasure, and which are vicious, are not found, do you think that you will find the shadow of luxury in that man in whom you cannot find the luxury itself?
Can nothing, therefore, be said against the life of Lucius Murena? Absolutely nothing, I say, O judges. The consul elect is defended by me on this ground, that no fraud of his, no avarice, no perfidy, no cruelty, no wanton word can be alleged against him in his whole life. It is well. The foundations of the defence are laid; for we are not as yet defending this virtuous and upright man with my own panegyric, which I will employ presently, but almost by the confession of his adversaries.
VII. And now that this is settled, the approach to the contest for this dignity, which was the second part of the accusation, is more easy to me. I see that there is in you, O Servius Sulpicius, the greatest dignity of birth, of integrity, of industry, and of all the other accomplishments which a man ought to rely on when he offers himself as a candidate for the consulship. I know that all those qualities are equal in Lucius Murena, and so equal that he can neither be surpassed in worth by you, nor can himself surpass you in worth. You have spoken slightingly of the family of Lucius Murena, you have extolled your own; but if you dwell on this topic so as to allow no one to be considered as born of a good family, unless he be a patrician, you will compel the common people again to secede to the Aventine Hill.1 But if there are honourable and considerable families among the plebeians,—both the great-grandfather of Lucius Murena, and his grandfather, were prætors; and his father, when he had triumphed most splendidly and honourably for exploits performed in his prætorship, left the steps towards the acquisition of the consulship more easy, because that honour which was due to the father was demanded by the son.
But your nobility, O Servius Sulpicius, although it is most eminent, yet it is known rather to men versed in literature and history, but not much so to the people and to the voters. For your father was in the rank of the knights, your grandfather was renowned for no conspicuous action. So that the recollection of your nobility is to be extracted not from the modern conversation of men, but from the antiquity of annals. So that I also am accustomed to class you in our number, because you by your own virtue and industry though you are the son of a Roman knight, have yet earned the being considered worthy of the very highest advancement. Nor did it ever seem to me that there was less virtue in Quintus Pompeius, a new man and a most brave man, than in that most high-born man, Marcus Æmilius. Indeed, it is a proof of the same spirit and genius, to hand down to his posterity, as Pompeius did, an honourable name, which he had not received from his ancestors; and, as Scaurus did, to renew the recollection of his family which was almost extinct.
VIII. Although I now thought, O judges, that it had been brought about by my labours, that a want of nobleness of birth should not be objected to many brave men, who were neglected, though men were praising not only the Curii, the Catos, the Pompeii, those ancient new but most distinguished men, but also, these more modern new men, the Marii, and Didii, and Cœlii. But when I, after so great an interval, had broken down those barriers of nobility, so that entrance to the consulship should hereafter be opened, as it was in the time of our ancestors, not more to high birth than to virtue, I did not think when a consul-elect of an ancient and illustrious family was being defended by the son of a Roman knight, himself a consul, that the accusers would say anything about newness of family. In truth it happened to me myself to stand against two patricians, one a most worthless and audacious man, the other a most modest and virtuous one; yet I surpassed Catiline in worth, Galba in popularity. But if that ought to have been imputed as a crime to a new man, forsooth, I should have wanted neither enemies nor detractors.
Let us, therefore, give up saying anything about birth, the dignity of which is great in both the candidates; let us look at the other points. He stood for the quæstorship at the same time with me, and I was appointed first. We need not answer every point; for it cannot escape the observation of any one of you, when many men are appointed equal in dignity, but only one can obtain the first place, that the order of the dignity and of the declaration of it are not the same, because the declaration has degrees, but the dignity of all is usually the same. But the quæstorship of each was given them by almost an equal decision of the lots: the one had by the Titian law a quiet and orderly province; you had that one of Ostia, at the name of which, when the quæstors distribute the provinces by lot, a shout is raised,—a province not so much pleasant and illustrious as troublesome and vexatious. The name of each was together in the quæstorship. For the drawing of the lots gave you no field on which your virtue could display itself and make itself known.
IX. The remaining space of time is dedicated to the contest. It was employed by each in a very dissimilar fashion. Servius adopted the civil service, full of anxiety and annoyance, of answering, writing, cautioning; he learned the civil law; he worked early and late, he toiled, he was visible to every one, he endured the folly of crowds, he tolerated their arrogance, he bore all sorts of difficulties, he lived at the will of others, not at his own. It is a great credit, a thing pleasing to men, for one man to labour hard in that science which will profit many.
What has Murena been doing in the meantime? He was lieutenant to Lucius Lucullus, a very brave and wise man, and a consummate general; and in this post he commanded an army, he fought a battle, he engaged the enemy, he routed numerous forces of the enemy, he took several cities, some by storm, some by blockade. He traversed that populous and luxurious Asia you speak of, in such a manner as to leave in it no trace either of his avarice or of his luxury; in a most important war he so behaved himself that he performed many glorious exploits without the commander-in-chief; but the commander-in-chief did nothing without him. And all these things, although I am speaking in the presence of Lucius Lucullus, yet that we may not appear to have a licence of invention granted us by him on account of the danger we are in, we are borne witness to in the public despatches; in which Lucius Lucullus gives him such praise as no ambitious nor envious commander-in-chief could have given another while dividing with him the credit of his exploits.
There is in each of the rivals the greatest honesty, the greatest worth; which I, if Servius will allow me, will place in equal and in the same panegyric. But he will not let me; he discusses the military question; he attacks the whole of his services as lieutenant; he thinks the consulship is an office requiring diligence and all this daily labour. “Have you been,” says he, “so many years with the army? you can never have been near the forum. Have you been away so long? and then, when after a long interval you arrive, will you contend in dignity with those who have made their abode in the forum?” First of all, as to that assiduity of ours, O Servius, you know not what disgust, what satiety, it sometimes causes men; it was, indeed, exceedingly advantageous for me myself that my influence was in the sight of all men; but I overcame the weariness of me by my own great labour; and you, perhaps, have done the same thing, but yet a regret at our absence would have been no injury to either of us.
But, to say no more of this, and to return to the contest of studies and pursuits; how can it be doubted that the glory of military exploits contributes more dignity to aid in the acquisition of the consulship, than renown for skill in civil law? Do you wake before the night is over in order to give answers to those who consult you? He has done so in order to arrive betimes with his army at the place to which he is marching. The cock-crow wakens you, but the sound of the trumpet rouses him: you conduct an action; he is marshalling an army: you take care lest your clients should be convicted; he lest his cities or camp be taken. He occupies posts, and exercises skill to repel the troops of the enemy, you to keep out the rain; he is practised in extending the boundaries of the empire, you in governing the present territories; and in short, for I must say what I think, preeminence in military skill excels all other virtues.
X. It is this which has procured its name for the Roman people; it is this which has procured eternal glory for this city; it is this which has compelled the whole world to submit to our dominion; all domestic affairs, all these illustrious pursuits of ours, and our forensic renown, and our industry, are safe under the guardianship and protection of military valour. As soon as the first suspicion of disturbance is heard of, in a moment our arts have not a word to say for themselves.
And since you seem to me to embrace that knowledge of the law which you have, as if it were a darling daughter, I will not permit you to lie under such a mistake as to think that, whatever it may be, which you have so thoroughly learnt, anything very preeminent. For your other virtues of continence, of gravity, of justice, of good faith, and all other good qualities, I have always considered you very worthy of the consulship and of all honour; but as for your having learnt civil law, I will not say you have wasted your pains, but I will say that there is no way made to lead to the consulship by that profession; for all arts which can conciliate for us the good-will of the Roman people ought to possess both an admirable dignity, and a very delightful utility.
XI. The highest dignity is in those men who excel in military glory. For all things which are in the empire and in the constitution of the state, are supposed to be defended and strengthened by them. There is also the greatest usefulness in them, since it is by their wisdom and their danger that we can enjoy both the republic and also our own private possessions. The power of eloquence also is no doubt valuable and full of dignity, and it has often been of influence in the election of a consul to be able by wisdom and oratory to sway the minds of the senate and the people, and those who decide on affairs. A consul is required who may be able sometimes to repress the madness of the tribunes, who may be able to bend the excited populace, who may resist corruption. It is not strange, if, on account of this faculty, even men who were not nobly born have often obtained the consulship; especially when this same quality procures a man great gratitude, and the firmest friendship, and the greatest zeal in his behalf; but of all this there is nothing, O Sulpicius, in your profession.
First of all, what dignity can there be in so limited a science? For they are but small matters, conversant chiefly about single letters and punctuation between words. Secondly, if in the time of our ancestors there was any inclination to marvel at that study of yours, now that all your mysteries are revealed, it is wholly despised and disregarded. At one time few men knew whether a thing might be lawfully done or not; for men ordinarily had no records; those were possessed of great power who were consulted, so that even days for consultation were begged of them beforehand, as from the Chaldean astrologers. A certain notary was found, by name Cnæus Flavius, who could deceive1 the most wary, and who set the people records to be learnt by heart each day, and who pilfered their own learning from the profoundest lawyers. So they, being angry because they were afraid, lest, when their daily course of action was divulged and understood, people would be able to proceed by law without their assistance, adopted a sort of cipher in order to make their presence necessary in every cause.
XII. When this might have been well transacted thus—“The Sabine farm is mine.” “No; it is mine:”—then a trial; they would not have it so. “The farm,” says he, “which is in the territory which is called Sabine:”—verbose enough—well, what next? “That farm, I say, is mine according to the rights of Roman citizens.” What then?—“and therefore I summon you according to law, seizing you by the hand.”
The man of whom the field was demanded did not know how to answer one who was so talkatively litigious. The same lawyer goes across, like a Latin flute-player,—says he, “In the place from whence you summoned me having seized me by the hand, from thence I recal you there.” In the meantime, as to the prætor, lest he should think himself a fine fellow and a fortunate one, and himself say something of his own accord, a form of words is composed for him also, absurd in other points, and especially in this: “Each of them being alive and being present, I say that that is the way.” “Enter on the way.” That wise man was at hand who was to show them the way. “Return on your path.” They returned with the same guide. These things, I may well suppose, appeared ridiculous to full-grown men; that men when they have stood rightly and in their proper place should be ordered to depart, in order that they might immediately return again to the place they had left. Everything was tainted with the same childish folly. “When I behold you in the power of the law.” And this,—“But do you say this who claim the right?” And while all this was made a mystery of, they who had the key to the mystery were necessarily sought after by men; but as soon as these things were revealed, and were bandied about and sifted in men’s hands, they were found to be thoroughly destitute of wisdom, but very full of fraud and folly.
For though many things have been excellently settled by the laws, yet most of them have been depraved and corrupted by the genius of the lawyers. Our ancestors determined that all women, on account of the inferiority of their understanding, should be under the protection of trustees. These men have found out classes of trustees, whose power is subordinate to that of the women. The one party did not wish the domestic sacrifices to be abolished in families; by the ingenuity of the others old men were found to marry by the form called coemptio,1 for the sake of getting rid of these sacred ceremonies. Lastly, in every part of the civil law they neglected equity itself, but adhered to the letter of the law; as for instance, because in somebody’s books they found the name of Caia, they thought that all the women who had married by coemptio were called Caias. And that often appears marvellous to me, that so many men of such ability should now for so many years have been unable to decide whether the proper expressions to use be the day after to-morrow or the third day, a judge or an arbiter, a cause or a proceeding.
XIII. Therefore, as I said before, the dignity of a consul has never been consistent with that science; being one consisting wholly of fictitious and imaginary formulas. And its right to public gratitude was even much smaller. For that which is open to every one, and which is equally accessible to me and to my adversary, cannot be considered as entitled to any gratitude. And therefore you have now, not only lost the hope of conferring a favour, but even the compliment that used to be paid to you by men asking your permission to consult you. No one can be considered wise on account of his proficiency in that knowledge which is neither of any use at all out of Rome, nor at Rome either during the vacations. Nor has any one any right to be considered skilful in law, because there cannot be any difference between men in a branch of knowledge with which they are all acquainted. And a matter is not thought the more difficult for being contained in a very small number of very intelligible documents. Therefore, if you excite my anger, though I am excessively busy, in three days I will profess myself a lawyer. In truth, all that need be said about the written law is contained in written books; nor is there anything written with such precise accuracy, that I cannot add to the formula, “which is the matter at present in dispute.” If you answer what you ought, you will seem to have made the same answer as Servius; if you make any other reply, you will seem to be acquainted with and to know how to handle disputed points.
Wherefore, not only is the military glory which you slight to be preferred to your formulas and legal pleas; but even the habit of speaking is far superior, as regards the attainment of honours, to the profession to the practice of which you devote yourself. And therefore many men appear to me to have preferred this at first; but afterwards, being unable to attain eminence in this profession, they have descended to the other. Just as men say, when talking of Greek practitioners, that those men are flute-players who cannot become harp-players, so we see some men, who have not been able to make orators, turn to the study of the law. There is great labour in the practice of oratory. It is an important business, one of great dignity, and of most exceeding influence. In truth, from you lawyers men seek some degree of advantage; but from those who are orators they seek actual safety. In the next place, your replies and your decisions are constantly overturned by eloquence, and cannot be made firm except by the advocacy of the orator; in which if I had made any great proficiency myself, I should be more sparing while speaking in its praise; but at present I am saying nothing about myself, but only about those men who either are or have been great in oratory.
XIV. There are two occupations which can place men in the highest rank of dignity; one, that of a general, the other, that of an accomplished orator. For by the latter the ornaments of peace are preserved, by the former the dangers of war are repelled. But the other virtues are of great importance from their own intrinsic excellence, such as justice, good faith, modesty, temperance; and in these, O Servius, all men know that you are very eminent. But at present I am speaking of those pursuits calculated to aid men in the attainment of honours, and not about the intrinsic excellency of each pursuit. For all those occupations are dashed out of our hands at once, the moment the slightest new commotion begins to have a warlike sound. In truth, as an ingenious poet and a very admirable author says, the moment there is a mention of battle, “away is driven” not only your grandiloquent pretences to prudence, but even that mistress of all things, “wisdom. Everything is done by violence. The orator,” not only he who is troublesome in speaking, and garrulous, but even “the good orator is despised; the horrid soldier is loved.” But as for your profession, that is trampled under foot; “men seek their rights not by law, but hand to hand by the sword,” says he.
And if that be the case, then I think, O Sulpicius, the forum must yield to the camp; peace must yield to war, the pen to the sword, and the shade to the sun. That, in fact, must be the first thing in the city, by means of which the city itself is the first of all cities. But Cato is busy proving that we are making too much of all these things in our speech; and that we have forgotten that that Mithridatic war was carried on against nothing better than women. However, my opinion is very different, O judges; and I will say a little on that subject; for my cause does not depend on that.
For if all the wars which we have carried on against the Greeks are to be despised, then let the triumph of Marcus Curius over king Pyrrhus be derided; and that of Titus Flamininus over Philip; and that of Marcus Fulvius over the Ætolians; and that of Lucius Paullus over king Perses; and that of Quintus Metellus over the false Philip; and that of Lucius Mummius over the Corinthians. But, if all these wars were of the greatest importance, and if our victories in them were most acceptable, then why are the Asiatic nations and that Asiatic enemy despised by you? But, from our records of ancient deeds, I see that the Roman people carried on a most important war with Antiochus; the conqueror in which war, Lucius Scipio, who had already gained great glory when acting in conjunction with his brother Publius, assumed the same honour himself by taking a surname from Asia, as his brother did, who, having subdued Africa, paraded his conquest by the assumption of the name of Africanus. And in that war the renown of your ancestor Marcus Cato was very conspicuous; but he, if he was, as I make no doubt that he was, a man of the same character as I see that you are, would never have gone to that war, if he had thought that it was only going to be a war against women. Nor would the senate have prevailed on Publius Africanus to go as lieutenant to his brother, when he himself, a little while before, having forced Hannibal out of Italy, having driven him out of Africa, and having crushed the power of Carthage, had delivered the republic from the greatest dangers, if that war had not been considered an important and formidable war.
XV. But if you diligently consider what the power of Mithridates was, and what his exploits were, and what sort of a man he was himself, you will in truth prefer this king to all the kings with whom the Roman people has ever waged war;—a man whom Lucius Sylla,—not a very inexperienced general, to say the least of it,—at the head of a numerous and powerful army, after a severe battle, allowed to depart having made peace with him, though he had overrun all Asia with war: whom Lucius Murena, my client’s father, after having warred against him with the greatest vigour and vigilance, left greatly checked indeed, but not overwhelmed: a king, who, having taken several years to perfect his system and to strengthen his warlike resources, became so powerful and enterprising that he thought himself able to unite the Atlantic to the Black Sea, and to combine the forces of Sertorius with his own. And when two consuls had been sent to that war, with the view of one pursuing Mithridates, and the other protecting Bithynia, the disasters which befel one of them by land and sea greatly increased the power and reputation of the king. But the exploits of Lucius Lucullus were such that it is impossible to mention any war which was more important, or in which greater abilities and valour were displayed. For when the violence of the entire war had broken against the walls of Cyzicus, and as Mithridates thought that he should find that city the door of Asia, and that, if that were once broken down and forced, the whole province would be open to him, everything was so managed by Lucullus that the city of our most faithful allies was defended, and all the forces of the king were wasted away by the length of the siege. What more need I say? Do you think that that naval battle at Tenedos, when the enemy’s fleet were hastening on with rapid course and under most eager admirals towards Italy, full of hope and courage, was a trifling engagement—an insignificant contest? I will say nothing of battles; I pass over the sieges of towns. Being at length expelled from his kingdom, still his wisdom and his influence were so great, that, combining his forces with those of the king of Armenia, he reappeared with new armies and new resources of every kind.
XVI. And if it were my business now to speak of the achievements of our army and of our general, I might mention many most important battles. But that is not the present question. This I do say:—If this war, and this enemy,—if that king was a proper object for contempt, the senate and Roman people would not have thought it one to be undertaken with such care, nor would they have carried it on for so many years, nor would the glory of Lucullus be as great as it is. Nor would the Roman people have entrusted the care of putting a finishing stroke to it to Cnæus Pompeius; though of all his battles, numberless as they are, that appears to me to have been the most desperate and to have been maintained on both sides with the greatest vigour, which he fought against the king. And when Mithridates had escaped from that battle, and had fled to the Bosphorus, a place which no army could approach, still, even in the extremity of his fortunes, and as a fugitive, he retained the name of a king. Therefore, Pompeius himself, having taken possession of his kingdom, having driven the enemy away from all his coasts, and from all his usual places of resort, still thought that so much depended on his single life, that though, by his victory, he had got possession of everything which he had possessed, or had approached, or even had hoped for, still he did not think the war entirely over till he drove him from life also. And do you, O Cato, think lightly of this man as an enemy, when so many generals warred against him for so many years, with so long a series of battles? when, though driven out and expelled from his kingdom, his life was still thought of such importance, that it was not till the news arrived of his death, that we thought the war over? We then say in defence of Lucius Murena, that as a lieutenant in this war he approved himself a man of the greatest courage, of singular military skill, and of the greatest perseverance; and that all his conduct at that time gave him no less a title to obtain the consulship than this forensic industry of ours gave us.
XVII. “But in the standing for the prætorship, Servius was elected first.” Are you going (as if you were arguing on some written bond) to contend with the people that, whatever place of honour they have once given any one, that same rank they are bound to give him in all other honours? For what sea, what Euripus do you think exists, which is liable to such commotions,—to such great and various agitations of waves, as the storms and tides by which the comitia are influenced? The interval of one day,—the lapse of one night,—often throws everything into confusion. The slightest breeze of rumour sometimes changes the entire opinions of people. Often, even, everything is done without any apparent cause, in a manner entirely at variance with the opinions that have been expressed, or that, indeed, are really entertained; so that sometimes the people marvels that that has been done which has been done, as if it were not itself that has done it. Nothing is more uncertain than the common people,—nothing more obscure than men’s wishes,—nothing more treacherous than the whole nature of the comitia. Who expected that Lucius Philippus, a man of the greatest abilities, and industry, and popularity, and nobleness of birth, could be beaten by Marcus Herennius? Who dreamt of Quintus Catulus, a man eminent for all the politer virtues, for wisdom and for integrity, being beaten by Cnæus Mallius? or Marcus Scaurus, a man of the highest character, an illustrious citizen, a most intrepid senator, by Quintus Maximus? Not only none of all these things were expected to happen, but not even when they had happened could any one possibly make out why they had happened. For as storms arise, often being heralded by some well-known token in the heavens, but often also quite unexpectedly from no imaginable reason, but from some unintelligible cause; so in the popular tempests of the comitia you may often understand by what signs a storm was first raised, but often, too, the cause is so obscure, that the tempest appears to have been raised by chance.
XVIII. But yet, if an account of them must be given, two qualities were particularly missed in the prætorship, the existence of which in Murena now was of the greatest use to him in standing for the consulship: one was the expectation of a largess, which had got abroad through some rumour, and owing to the zeal and conversation of some of his competitors; the other, that those men who had been witnesses of all his liberality and virtue in the province and in the discharge of his office as lieutenant, had not yet left Rome. Fortune reserved each of these advantages for him, to aid him in his application for the consulship. For the army of Lucius Lucullus, which had come hither for his triumph, was also present at the comitia in aid of Lucius Murena, and his prætorship afforded a most splendid proof of his liberality, of which there was no mention when he was standing for the prætorship. Do these things appear to you trifling supports and aids towards obtaining the consulship? Is the good-will of the soldiery a trifle? who are both intrinsically powerful through their own numbers, and also by their influence among their connexions, and who in declaring a consul have great weight among the entire Roman people. Are the votes of the army a trifle? No; for it is generals, and not interpreters of words, who are elected at the consular comitia. Most influential, then, is such a speech as this,—“He refreshed me when I was wounded. He gave me a share of the plunder. He was the general when we took that camp—when we fought that battle. He never imposed harder work on the soldier than he underwent himself. He was as fortunate as he is brave.” What weight do you not suppose this must have to gaining a reputation and good-will among men? Indeed, if there is a sort of superstition in the comitia, that up to this time the omen to be drawn from the vote of the prerogative1 tribe has always proved true, what wonder is there that in such a meeting the reputation of good fortune and such discourse as this has had the greatest weight?
XIX. But if you think these things trifling, though they are most important; and if you prefer the votes of these quiet citizens to those of the soldiers; at all events, you cannot think lightly of the beauty of the games exhibited by this man, and the magnificence of his theatrical spectacles; and these things were of great use to him in this last contest. For why need I tell you that the people and the great mass of ignorant men are exceedingly taken with games? It is not very strange. And that is a sufficient reason in this case; for the comitia are the comitia of the people and the multitude. If, then, the magnificence of games is a pleasure to the people, it is no wonder that it was of great service to Lucius Murena with the people. But if we ourselves, who, from our constant business, have but little time for amusement, and who are able to derive many pleasures of another sort from our business itself, are still pleased and interested by exhibitions of games, why should you marvel at the ignorant multitude being so? Lucius Otho,2 a brave man, and an intimate friend of mine, restored not only its dignity, but also its pleasure to the equestrian order; and, therefore, this law which relates to the games is the most acceptable of all laws, because by it that most honourable order of men is restored not only to its honours, but also to the enjoyment of its amusements. Games, then, believe me, are a great delight to men, even to those who are ashamed to own it, and not to those only who confess it, as I found to be the case in my contest for the consulship; for we also had a theatrical representation as our competitor. But if I who, as ædile, had exhibited those shows of games, was yet influenced by the games exhibited by Antonius, do you not suppose that that very silver stage exhibited by this man, which you laugh at, was a serious rival to you, who, as it happened, had never given any games at all? But, in truth, let us allow that these advantages are all equal,—let exertions displayed in the forum be allowed to be equal to military achievements,—let the votes of the quiet citizens be granted to be of equal weight with those of the soldiers,—let it be of equal assistance to a man to have exhibited the most magnificent games, and never to have exhibited any at all; what then? Do you think that in the prætorship itself there was no difference between your lot and that of my client Murena?
XX. His department was that which we and all your friends desired for you; that, namely, of deciding the law; a business in which the importance of the business transacted procures great credit for a man, and the administration of justice earns him popularity; for which department a wise prætor, such as Murena was, avoids giving offence by impartiality in his decisions, and conciliates good-will by his good temper in hearing the cases brought before him. It is a very creditable employment, and very well adapted to gain a man the consulship, being one in which the praise of justice, integrity and affability is crowned at the last by the pleasure of the games which he exhibits. What department was it that your lot gave you? A disagreeable and odious one. That of inquiry into peculation, pregnant on the one side with the tears and mourning apparel of the accused, full on the other side of imprisonment and informers. In that department of justice judges are forced to act against their will, are retained by force contrary to their inclination. The clerk is hated, the whole body is unpopular. The gratifications given by Sylla are found fault with. Many brave men,—indeed, a considerable portion of the city is offended; damages are assigned with severity. The man who is pleased with the decision soon forgets it; he who loses his cause is sure to remember it. Lastly, you would not go to your province. I cannot find fault with that resolution in you, which, both as prætor and consul, I have adopted in my own case. But still Lucius Murena’s conduct in his province procured him the affection of many influential men, and a great accession of reputation On his road he held a levy of troops in Umbria. The republic enabled him to display his liberality, which he did so effectually as to engage in his interest many tribes which are connected with the municipalities of that district. And in Gaul itself, he contrived by his equity and diligence to enable many of our citizens to recover debts which they had entirely despaired of. In the meantime you were living at Rome, ready to help your friends. I confess that—but still recollect this, that the inclinations of some friends are often cooled towards those men by whom they see that provinces are despised.
XXI. And since I have proved, O judges, that in this contest for the consulship Murena had the same claims of worth that Sulpicius had, accompanied with a very different fortune as respects the business of their respective provinces, I will say more plainly in what particular my friend Servius was inferior; and I will say those things while you are now hearing me,—now that the time of the elections is over,—which I have often said to him by himself before the affair was settled. I often told you, O Servius, that you did not know how to stand for the consulship; and, in respect to those very matters which I saw you conducting and advocating in a brave and magnanimous spirit, I often said to you that you appeared to me to be a brave senator rather than a wise candidate. For, in the first place, the terrors and threats of accusations which you were in the habit of employing every day, are rather the part of a fearless man; but they have an unfavourable effect on the opinion of the people as regards a man’s hopes of getting anything from them, and they even disarm the zeal of his friends. Somehow or other, this is always the case; and it has been noticed, not in one or two instances only, but in many; so that the moment a candidate is seen to turn his attention to provocations, he is supposed to have given up all hopes of his election.
What, then, am I saying? Do I mean that a man is not to prosecute another for any injury which he may have received? Certainly I mean nothing of the sort. But the times for prosecuting and for standing for the consulship are different. I consider that a candidate for any office, especially for the consulship, ought to come down into the forum and into the Campus Martius with great hopes, with great courage, and with great resources. But I do not like a candidate to be looking about for evidence—conduct which is a sure forerunner of a repulse. I do not like his being anxious to marshal witnesses rather than voters. I do not fancy threats instead of caresses,—declamation where there should be salutation; especially as, according to the new fashion now existing, all candidates visit the houses of nearly all the citizens, and from their countenances men form their conjectures as to what spirits and what probabilities of success each candidate has. “Do you see how gloomy that man looks? how dejected? He is out of spirits; he thinks he has no chance; he has laid down his arms.” Then a report gets abroad,—“Do you know that he is thinking of a prosecution? He is seeking for evidence against his competitors; he is hunting for witnesses. I shall vote for some one else, as he knows that he has no chance.” The most intimate friends of such candidates as that are dispirited and disarmed, they abandon all anxiety in the matter,—they give up a business which is so manifestly hopeless, or else they reserve all their labour and influence to countenance their friend in the trial and prosecution which he is meditating.
XXII. And, besides all this, the candidate himself cannot devote his whole thoughts, and care, and attention, and diligence to his own election; for he has also in his mind the thoughts of his prosecution—a matter of no small importance, but in truth of the very greatest. For it is a very serious business to be preparing measures by which to deprive a man, especially one who is not powerless or without resources, of his rights as a citizen; one who is defended both by himself and by his friend,—ay, and perhaps also by strangers. For we all of us naturally hasten to save any one from danger; and, if we are not notoriously enemies to them, we tender, even to utter strangers, when menaced by danger affecting their station as citizens, the services and zeal which are strictly speaking due only to the causes of our friends. On which account I, who know by experience the troubles attending on standing for office, on defending and accusing prisoners, consider that the truth in respect of each business stands thus,—that in standing for an office, eagerness is the chief thing; in defending a man, a regard for one’s duty is the principal thing shown; in accusing a man, the labour is greatest. And therefore I say decidedly that it is quite impossible for the same man to do justice properly to the part of an accuser and a candidate for the consulship. Few can play either part well; no one can do justice to both. Did you, when you turned aside out of the course prescribed for you as a candidate, and when you had transferred your attention to the task of prosecuting, think that you could fulfil all the requirements of both? You were greatly mistaken if you did; for what day was there after you once entered on that prosecution, that you did not devote the whole of it to that occupation?
XXIII. You demanded a law about bribery, though there was no deficiency of laws on that matter, for there was the Calpurnian law, framed with the greatest severity. Your inclinations and your wish procured compliance with your demand; but the whole of that law might perhaps have armed your accusation, if you had had a guilty defendant to prosecute; but it has been of great injury to you as a candidate. A more severe punishment for the common people was demanded by your voice. The minds of the lower orders were agitated. The punishment of an exile was demanded in the case of any one of our order being convicted. The senate granted it to your request; but still it was with no good will that they established a more severe condition for our common fortunes at your instigation. Punishment was imposed on any one who made the excuse of illness. The inclinations of many men were alienated by this step, as by it they were forced either to labour to the prejudice of their health, or else through the distress of illness they were compelled to abandon the other enjoyments of life. What, then, are we to say of this? Who passed this law? He, who, in so doing, acted in obedience to the senate, and to your wish. He, in short, passed it to whom it was not of the slightest personal advantage. Do you think that those proposals which, with my most willing consent, the senate rejected in a very full house, were but a slight hindrance to you? You demanded the confusion of the votes of all the centuries, the extension of the Manilian law,1 the equalisation of all interest, and dignity, and of all the suffrages. Honourable men, men of influence in their neighbourhoods and municipalities, were indignant that such a man should contend for the abolition of all degrees in dignity and popularity. You also wished to have judges selected by the accuser at his pleasure, the effect of which would have been, that the secret dislikes of the citizens, which are at present confined to silent grumblings, would have broken out in attacks on the fortunes of every eminent man.
All these measures were strengthening your hands as a prosecutor, but weakening your chance as a candidate. And by them all a violent blow was struck at your hopes of success, as I warned you; and many very severe things were said about it by that most able and most eloquent man, Hortensius, owing to which my task of speaking now is the more difficult; as, after both he had spoken before me, and also Marcus Crassus, a man of the greatest dignity, and industry, and skill as an orator, I, coming in at the end, was not to plead some part of the cause, but to say with respect to the whole matter whatever I thought advisable. Therefore I am forced to recur to the same ideas, and to a great extent, O judges, I have to contend with a feeling of satiety on your part.
XXIV. But still, O Servius, do you not see that you completely lay the axe to the root of your chance as a candidate, when you give the Roman people cause for apprehension that Catiline might be made consul through your neglect, and, I may almost say, abandonment of your canvass, while you were intent on your prosecution? In truth, men saw that you were hunting about for evidence; that you yourself looked gloomy, your friends out of spirits; they noticed your visits, your inquiries after proofs, your privy meetings with your witnesses, your conferences with your junior counsel; all which matters are certainly apt to make the countenance of a candidate look darker. Meantime they saw Catiline cheerful and joyous, accompanied by a band of youths, with a body-guard of informers and assassins, elated by the hopes which he placed in the soldiers, and, as he himself said, by the promises of my colleagues; surrounded, too, with a numerous body of colonists from Arretium and Fæsulæ—a crowd made conspicuous by the presence of men of a very different sort in it, men who had been ruined by the disasters in the time of Sylla. His own countenance was full of fury; his eyes glared with wickedness his discourse breathed nothing but arrogance. You might have thought that he had assured himself of the consulship, and that he had got it locked up at home. Murena he despised. Sulpicius he considered as his prosecutor, not as a competitor. He threatened him with violence; he threatened the republic.
XXV. And I need not remind you with what terror all good men were seized in consequence of these occurrences, and how entirely they would all have despaired of the republic if he had been made consul. All this you yourselves recollect; for you remember, when the expressions of that wicked gladiator got abroad, which he was said to have used at a meeting at his own house, when he said that it was impossible for any faithful defender of the miserable citizens to be found, except a man who was himself miserable; that men in an embarrassed and desperate condition ought not to trust the promises of men of a flourishing and fortunate estate; and therefore that those who were desirous to replace what they had spent, and to recover what they had lost, had better consider what he himself owed, what he possessed, and what he would dare to do; that that man ought to be very fearless and thoroughly overwhelmed by misfortune, who was to be the leader and standard-bearer of unfortunate men. Then, therefore, when these things had been heard, you recollect that a resolution of the senate was passed, on my motion, that the comitia should not be held the next day, in order that we might be able to discuss these matters in the senate. Accordingly, the next day, in a full meeting of the senate, I addressed Catiline himself, and desired him, if he could, to give some explanation of these reports which had been brought to me. And he—for he was not much addicted to disguising his intentions—did not attempt to clear himself, but openly avowed and adopted the statements. For he said then, that there were two bodies of the republic,—the one weak with a weak head, the other powerful without a head,—and that, as this last had deserved well of him, it should never want a head as long as he lived. The whole senate groaned at hearing itself addressed in such language, and passed a resolution not severe enough for such unworthy conduct; for some of them were against too rigorous a resolution, because they had no fear; and some, because they had a great deal. Then he rushed forth from the senate, triumphing and exulting,—a man who never ought to have been allowed to leave it alive, especially as that very same man in the same place had made answer to Cato, that gallant man who was threatening him with a prosecution, a few days before, that if any fire were kindled against his own fortunes, he would put it out, not with water, but by the general ruin.
XXVI. Being influenced then by these facts, and knowing that men who were already associated in a conspiracy were being brought down by Catiline into the Campus Martius, armed with swords, I myself descended into the campus with a guard of brave men, and with that broad and shining breastplate, not in order to protect me, (for I knew that Catiline would aim at my head and neck, not at my chest or body,) but in order that all good men might observe it, and, when they saw their consul in fear and in danger, might, as they did, throng together for my assistance and protection. Therefore, as, O Servius, men thought you very remiss in prosecuting the contest, and saw Catiline inflamed with hope and desire, all who wished to repel that pest from the republic immediately joined the party of Murena. And in the consular comitia the sudden inclination of men’s feelings is often of great weight, especially as, in this case, it took the direction of a very gallant man, who was assisted by many other concurrent aids in his application for the office. He was born of a most honourable father and ancestors; he had passed his youth in a most modest manner; he had discharged the office of a lieutenant with great credit; he had been prætor, as such he had been approved as a judge; he had been popular through his liberality; he had been highly honoured in his province; he had been very diligent in his canvass, and had carried it on so as neither to give way if any one threatened him, nor to threaten any one himself. Can we wonder that the sudden hope which Catiline now entertained of obtaining the consulship was a great assistance to this man?
The third topic which I have got to speak about refers to the charge of bribery; which has been already entirely refuted by those who have spoken before me, but which must still be discussed by me, since such is the will of Murena. And while speaking on this point, I will reply to what Postumius, my own intimate friend, a most accomplished man, has said about the trials of agents, and about sums of money which he asserts have been found; and to what Servius Sulpicius, that able and virtuous young man, has said about the centuries of the knights; and to what Marcus Cato, a man eminent in every kind of virtue, has said about his own accusation, about the resolution of the senate, and about the republic in general.
XXVII. But first of all I will say a little, which has just occurred to me, about the hard fortune of Lucius Murena. For I have often before now, O judges, judging both by the miseries of others, and by my own daily cares and labours, considered those men fortunate, who, being at a distance from the pursuits of ambition, have addicted themselves to ease and tranquility of life; and now especially I am so affected by these serious and unexpected dangers of Lucius Murena, that I am unable adequately to express my pity for the common condition of all of us, or for his particular state and fortune; who while, after an uninterrupted series of honours attained by his family and his ancestors, he was endeavouring to mount one step higher in dignity, has incurred the danger of losing both the honours bequeathed to him by his forefathers, and those too which have been acquired by himself, and now, on account of his pursuit of this new honour, is brought into the danger of losing his ancient fortune also. And as these are weighty considerations, O judges, so is this the most serious matter of all, that he has men for accusers who, instead of proceeding to accuse him on account of their private enmity against him, have become his personal enemies, being carried away by their zeal for their accusation. For, to say nothing of Servius Sulpicius, who, I am aware, is influenced not by any wrong done by Lucius Murena, but only by the party spirit engendered by the contest for honour, his father’s friend, Cnæus Postumius, is his accuser, an old neighbour and intimate friend of his own, as he says himself; who has mentioned many reasons for his intimacy with him, while he has not been able to mention one for any enmity towards him. Servius Sulpicius accuses him, the companion of his son,—he, by whose genius all the friends of his father ought to be only the more defended. Marcus Cato accuses him, who, though he has never been in any matter whatever at variance with Murena, yet was born in this city under such circumstances that his power and genius ought to be a protection to many who were even entire strangers to him, and ought to be the ruin of hardly any personal enemy.
In the first instance then I will reply to Cnæus Postumius, who, somehow or other, I know not how, while a candidate for the prætorship, appears to me to be a straggler into the course marked out for the candidates for the consulship, as the horse of a vaulter might escape into the course marked out for the chariot races. And if there is no fault whatever to be found with his competitors, then he has made a great concession to their worth in desisting from his canvass. But if any one of them has committed bribery, then he must look for some friend who will be more inclined to prosecute an injury done to another than one done to himself.
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XXVIII. I come now to Marcus Cato, who is the mainstay and prop of the whole prosecution; who is, however, so zealous and vehement a prosecutor, that I am much more afraid of the weight of his name, than of his accusation. And with respect to this accuser, O judges, first of all I will entreat you not to let Cato’s dignity, nor your expectation of his tribuneship, nor the high reputation and virtue of his whole life, be any injury to Lucius Murena. Let not all the honours of Marcus Cato which he has acquired in order to be able to assist many men, be an injury to my client alone. Publius Africanus had been twice consul, and had destroyed those two terrors of this empire, Carthage and Numantia, when he prosecuted Lucius Cotta. He was a man of the most splendid eloquence, of the greatest good faith, of the purest integrity; his authority was as great almost as that of the Roman people itself, in that empire which had been mainly saved by his means. I have often heard old men say that this very extraordinarily high character of the accuser was of the greatest service to Lucius Cotta. Those wise men who then were the judges in that cause, did not like any one to be defeated in a trial, if he was to appear overwhelmed only by the excessive influence of his adversary. What more shall I say? Did not the Roman people deliver Sergius Galba (the fact is preserved in the recollection of every one) from your grandfather, that most intrepid and prosperous man, Marcus Cato, who was zealously seeking his ruin? At all times in this city the whole people, and also the judges, wise men, looking far into futurity, have resisted the overweening power of prosecutors. I do not like an accuser bringing his personal power, or any predominant influence, or his own eminent authority, or his own excessive popularity, into a court of justice. Let all these things have weight to ensure the safety of the innocent, to aid the weak, to succour the unfortunate. But in a case where the danger and ruin of citizens may ensue, let them be rejected. For if perchance any one should say that Cato would not have come forward as an accuser if he had not previously made up his mind about the justice of the cause, he will then be laying down a most unjust law, O judges, and establishing a miserable condition for men in their danger, if he thinks that the opinion of an accuser is to have against a defendant the weight of a previous investigation legally conducted.
XXIX. I, O Cato, do not venture to find fault with your intentions, by reason of my extraordinarily high opinion of your virtue; but in some particulars I may perhaps be able slightly to amend and reform them. “You are not very wrong,” said an aged tutor to a very brave man; “but if you are wrong, I can set you right.” But I can say with the greatest truth that you never do wrong, and that your conduct is never such in any point as to need correction, but only such as occasionally to require being guided a little. For nature has herself formed you for honesty, and gravity, and moderation, and magnanimity, and justice; and for all the virtues required to make a great and noble man. To all these qualities are added an education not moderate, nor mild, but, as it seems to me, a little harsh and severe, more so than either truth or nature would permit. And since we are not to address this speech either to an ignorant multitude, or to any assembly of rustics, I will speak a little boldly about the pursuits of educated men, which are both well known and agreeable to you, O judges, and to me. Learn then, O judges, that all these good qualities, divine and splendid as they are, which we behold in Marcus Cato, are his own peculiar attributes. The qualities which we sometimes wish for in him, are not all those which are implanted in a man by nature, but some of them are such as are derived from education. For there was once a man of the greatest genius, whose name was Zeno, the imitators of whose example are called Stoics. His opinions and precepts are of this sort: that a wise man is never influenced by interest; never pardons any man’s fault; that no one is merciful except a fool and a trifler; that it is not the part of a man to be moved or pacified by entreaties; that wise men, let them be ever so deformed, are the only beautiful men; if they be ever such beggars, they are the only rich men; if they be in slavery, they are kings. And as for all of us who are not wise men, they call us runaway slaves, exiles, enemies, lunatics. They say that all offences are equal; that every sin is an unpardonable crime; and that he does not commit a less crime who kills a cock, if there was no need to do so, than the man who strangles his father. They say that a wise man never feels uncertain on any point, never repents of anything, is never deceived in anything, and never alters his opinion.
XXX. All these opinions that most acute man, Marcus Cato, having been induced by learned advocates of them, has embraced; and that, not for the sake of arguing about them, as is the case with most men, but of living by them. Do the Publicans ask for anything? “Take care that their influence has no weight.” Do any suppliants, miserable and unhappy men, come to us? “You will be a wicked and infamous man if you do anything from being influenced by mercy.” Does any one confess that he has done wrong, and beg pardon for his wrong doing? “To pardon is a crime of the deepest dye.”—“But it is a trifling offence.” “All offences are equal.” You say something. “That is a fixed and unalterable principle” “You are influenced not by the facts, but by your opinion.” “A wise man never forms mere opinions.” “You have made a mistake in some point.” He thinks that you are abusing him —And in accordance with these principles of his are the following assertions: “I said in the senate, that I would prosecute one of the candidates for the consulship.” “You said that when you were angry.” “A wise man never is angry.” “But you said it for some temporary purpose.” “It is the act,” says he, “of a worthless man to deceive by a lie; it is a disgraceful act to alter one’s opinion; to be moved by entreaties is wickedness; to pity any one is an enormity.” But our philosophers, (for I confess, O Cato, that I too, in my youth, distrusting my own abilities, sought assistance from learning,) our philosophers, I say, men of the school of Plato and Aristotle, men of soberness and moderation, say that private interest does sometimes have weight even with a wise man. They say that it does become a virtuous man to feel pity; that there are different gradations of offences, and different degrees of punishment appropriate to each; that a man with every proper regard for firmness may pardon offences; that even the wise man himself has sometimes nothing more than opinion to go upon, without absolute certainty; that he is sometimes angry; that he is sometimes influenced and pacified by entreaty; that he sometimes does change an opinion which he may have expressed, when it is better to do so; that he sometimes abandons his previous opinions altogether; and that all his virtues are tempered by a certain moderation.
XXXI. If any chance, O Cato, had conducted, endowed with your existing natural disposition, to those tutors, you would not indeed have been a better man than you are, nor a braver one, nor more temperate, nor more just than you are, (for that is not possible,) but you would have been a little more inclined to lenity; you would not, when you were not induced by any enmity, or provoked by any personal injury, accuse a most virtuous man, a man of the highest rank and the greatest integrity; you would consider that as fortune had entrusted the guardianship of the same year to you1 and to Murena, that you were connected with him by some certain political union; and the severe things which you have said in the senate you would either not have said, or you would have guarded against their being applied to him, or you would have interpreted them in the mildest sense. And even you yourself, (at least that is my opinion and expectation,) excited as you are at present by the impetuosity of your disposition, and elated as you are both by the vigour of your natural character and by your confidence in your own ability, and inflamed as you are by your recent study of all these precepts, will find practice modify them, and time and increasing years soften and humanise you. In truth, those tutors and teachers of virtue, whom you think so much of, appear to me themselves to have carried their definitions of duties somewhat further than is agreeable to nature; and it would be better if, when we had in theory pushed our principles to extremities, yet in practice we stopped at what was expedient. “Forgive nothing.” Say rather, forgive some things, but not everything. “Do nothing for the sake of private influence.” Certainly resist private influence when virtue and good faith require you to do so. “Do not be moved by pity.” Certainly if it is to extinguish all impartiality; nevertheless, there is some credit due to humanity. “Abide by your own opinion.” Very true, unless some other sounder opinion convinces you. That great Scipio was a man of this sort, who had no objection to do the same thing that you do; to keep a most learned man, a man of almost divine wisdom, in his house; by whose conversation and precepts, although they were the very same that you are so fond of, he was nevertheless not made more severe, but (as I have heard said by old men) he was rendered most merciful. And who was more mild in his manners than Caius Lælius? who was more agreeable than he? (devoted to the same studies as you;) who was more virtuous or more wise than he? I might say the same of Lucius Philus, and of Caius Gallus; but I will conduct you now into your own house. Do you think that there was any man more courteous, more agreeable; any one whose conduct was more completely regulated by every principle of virtue and politeness, than Cato, your great-grandfather? And when you were speaking with truth and dignity of his virtue, you said that you had a domestic example to imitate. That indeed is an example set up for your imitation in your own family; and the similarity of nature ought rather to influence you who are descended from him than any one of us; but still that example is as much an object for my imitation as for yours. But if you were to add his courtesy and affability to your own wisdom and impartiality, I will not say that those qualities which are now most excellent will be made intrinsically better, but they will certainly be more agreeably seasoned.
XXXII. Wherefore, to return to the subject which I began to speak of, take away the name of Cato out of the cause; remove and leave out of the question all mention of authority, which in courts of justice ought either to have no influence at all, or only influence to contribute to some one’s safety; and discuss with me the charges themselves. What do you accuse him of, Cato? What action of his is it that you bring before the court? What is your charge? Do you accuse him of bribery? I do not defend bribery. You blame me because you say I am defending the very conduct which I brought in a law to punish. I punished bribery, not innocence. And any real case of bribery I will join you in prosecuting if you please. You have said that a resolution of the senate was passed, on my motion, “that if any men who had been bribed had gone to meet the candidates, if any hired men followed them, if places were given men to see the shows of gladiators according to their tribes, and also, if dinners were given to the common people, that appeared to be a violation of the Calpurnian law.’ Therefore the senate decides that these things were done in violation of the Calpurnian law if they were done at all; it decides what there is not the least occasion for, out of complaisance for the candidates. For there is a great question whether such things have been done or not. That, if they have been done, they were done in violation of the law, no one can doubt. It is, therefore, ridiculous to leave that uncertain which was doubtful, but to give a positive decision on that point which can be doubtful to no one. And that decree is passed at the request of all the candidates; in order that it might be quite impossible to make out from the resolution of the senate whose interests were consulted, or against whose interests it was passed. Prove, then, that these actions have been done by Lucius Murena; and then I will grant to you that they have been done in violation of the law.
XXXIII. “Many men went to meet him as he was departing from his province, when he was a candidate for the consulship.” That is a very usual thing to do. Who is there whom people do not go out to meet on his return home? “What a number of people they were.” In the first place, if I am not able to give you any exact account of it, what wonder is it if many men did go out to meet such a man on his arrival, being a candidate for the consulship? If they had not done so, it would have appeared much more strange. What then? Suppose I were even to add, what there would be nothing unusual in, that many had been asked to go? Would that be matter of accusation, or at all strange, that, in a city in which we, when we are asked, often come to escort the sons of even the lowest rank, almost before the night is over, from the furthest part of the city, men should not mind going at the third hour into the Campus Martius, especially when they have been invited in the name of such a man as Murena? What then? What if all the societies had come to meet him, of which bodies many are sitting here as judges? What if many men of our own most honourable order had come? What then? What if the whole of that most officious body of candidates, which will not suffer any man to enter the city except in an honourable manner, had come, or even our prosecutor himself—if Postumius had come to meet him with a numerous crowd of his dependents? What is there strange in such a multitude? I say nothing of his clients, his neighbours, his tribesmen, or the whole army of Lucullus, which, just at that time, had come to Rome to his triumph: I say this, that that crowd, paying that gratuitous mark of respect, was never backward in paying respect not only to the merit of any one, but even to his wishes.
“But a great many people followed him.” Prove that it was for hire, and I will admit that that was a crime: but if the fact of hire be absent, what is there that you object to?
XXXIV. “What need is there,” says he, “of an escort?” Are you asking me what is the need of that which we have always availed ourselves of? Men of the lower orders have only one opportunity of deserving kindness at the hands of our order, or of requiting services,—namely, this one attention of escorting us when we are candidates for offices. For it is neither possible, nor ought we or the Roman knights to require them to escort the candidates to whom they are attached for whole days together; but if our house is frequented by them, if we are sometimes escorted to the forum, if we are honoured by their attendance for the distance of one piazza, we then appear to be treated with all due observance and respect; and those are the attentions of our poorer friends who are not hindered by business, of whom numbers are not wont to desert virtuous and beneficent men. Do not then, O Cato, deprive the lower class of men of this power of showing their dutiful feelings; allow these men, who hope for everything from us, to have something also themselves, which they may be able to give us. If they have nothing beyond their own vote, that is but little; since they have no interest which they can exert in the votes of others. They themselves, as they are accustomed to say, cannot plead for us, cannot go bail for us, cannot invite us to their houses; but they ask all these things of us, and do not think that they can requite the services which they receive from us by anything but by their attentions of this sort. Therefore they resisted the Fabian law, which regulated the number of an escort, and the resolution of the senate, which was passed in the consulship of Lucius Cæsar. For there is no punishment which can prevent the regard shown by the poorer classes for this description of attention. “But spectacles were exhibited to the people by their tribes, and crowds of the common people were invited to dinner.” Although this, O judges, was not done by Murena at all, but done in accordance with all usage and precedent by his friends, still, being reminded of the fact, I recollect how many votes these investigations held in the senate have lost us, O Servius. For what time was there ever, either within our own recollection or that of our fathers, in which this, whether you call it ambition or liberality, did not exist, to the extent of giving a place in the circus and in the forum to one’s friends, and to the men of one’s own tribe? The men of the poorer classes first, who had not yet obtained from those of their own tribe NA* * *
XXXV. NA* * * that the prefect of the carpenters1 once gave a place to the men of his own tribe. What will they decide with respect to the eminent men who have erected regular stalls in the circus, for the sake of their own tribesmen? All these charges of escort, of spectacles, of dinners, are brought forward by the multitude, O Servius, as proofs of your over-scrupulous diligence; but still as to those counts of the indictment, Murena is defended by the authority of the senate. And why not? Does the senate think it a crime to go to meet a man? No; but it does, if it be done for a bribe. Prove that it was so. Does the senate think it a crime for many men to follow him? No; but it does, if they were hired. Prove it. Or to give a man a place to see the spectacles? or to ask a man to dinner? Not by any means; but to give every one a seat, to ask every one one meets to dinner. “What is every one?” Why, the whole body of citizens. If, then, Lucius Natta, a young man of the highest rank, as to whom we see already of what sort of disposition he is, and what sort of man he is likely to turn out, wished to be popular among the centuries of the knights, both because of his natural connexion with them, and because of his intentions as to the future, that will not be a crime in, or matter of accusation against his stepfather; nor, if a vestal virgin, my client’s near relation, gave up her place to see the spectacle in his favour, was that any other than a pious action, nor is he liable to any charge on that ground. All these are the kind offices of intimate friends, the services done to the poorer classes, the regular privileges of candidates.
But I must change my tone; for Cato argues with me on rigid and stoic principles. He says that it is not true that good-will is conciliated by food. He says that men’s judgments, in the important business of electing to magistracies, ought not to be corrupted by pleasures. Therefore, if any one, to promote his canvass, invites another to supper, he must be condemned. “Shall you,” says he, “seek to obtain supreme power, supreme authority, and the helm of the republic, by encouraging men’s sensual appetites, by soothing their minds, by tendering luxuries to them? Are you asking employment as a pimp from a band of luxurious youths, or the sovereignty of the world from the Roman people?” An extraordinary sort of speech! but our usages, our way of living, our manners, and the constitution itself, rejects it. For the Lacedæmonians, the original authors of that way of living and of that sort of language, men who lie at their daily meals on hard oak benches, and the Cretans, of whom no one ever lies down to eat at all, have neither of them preserved their political constitutions or their power better than the Romans, who set apart times for pleasure as well as times for labour; for one of those nations was destroyed by a single invasion of our army, the other only preserves its discipline and its laws by means of the protection afforded to it by our supremacy.
XXXVI. Do not, then, O Cato, blame with too great severity of language the principles of our ancestors, which facts, and the length of time that our power has flourished under them, justify. There was, in the time of our ancestors, a learned man of the same sect, an honourable citizen, and one of high rank, Quintus Tubero. He, when Quintus Maximus was giving a feast to the Roman people, in the name of his uncle Africanus, was asked by Maximus to prepare a couch for the banquet, as Tubero was a son of the sister of the same Africanus. And he, a most learned man and a Stoic, covered for that occasion some couches made in the Carthaginian fashion, with skins of kids, and exhibited some Samian1 vessels, as if Diogenes the Cynic had been dead, and not as if he were paying respect to the obsequies of that godlike Africanus; a man with respect to whom Maximus, when he was pronouncing his funeral panegyric on the day of his death, expressed his gratitude to the immortal gods for having caused that man to be born in this republic above all others, for that it was quite inevitable that the sovereignty of the world must belong to that state of which he was a citizen. At the celebration of the obsequies of such a man the Roman people was very indignant at the perverse wisdom of Tubero, and therefore he, a most upright man, a most virtuous citizen, though he was the grandson of Lucius Paullus, the sister’s son, as I have said before, of Publius Africanus, lost the prætorship by his kid skins.
The Roman people disapproves of private luxury, but admires public magnificence. It does not love profuse banquets, still less does it love sordid and uncivilized behaviour. It makes a proper distinction between different duties and different seasons; and allows of vicissitudes of labour and pleasure. For as to what you say, that it is not right for men’s minds to be influenced, in appointing magistrates, by any other consideration than that of the worth of the candidates, this principle even you yourself—you, a man of the greatest worth—do not in every case adhere to. For why do you ask any one to take pains for you, to assist you? You ask me to make you governor over myself, to entrust myself to you. What is the meaning of this? Ought I to be asked this by you, or should not you rather be asked by me to undertake labour and danger for the sake of my safety? Nay more, why is it that you have a nomenclator1 with you? for in so doing, you are practising a trick and a deceit. For if it be an honourable thing for your fellow-citizens to be addressed by name by you, it is a shameful thing for them to be better known to your servant than to yourself. If, though you know them yourself, it seems better to use a prompter, why do you sometimes address them before he has whispered their names in your ear? Why, again, when he has reminded you of them, do you salute them as if you knew them yourself? And why, after you are once elected, are you more careless about saluting them at all? If you regulate all these things by the usages of the city, it is all right; but if you choose to weigh them by the precepts of your sect, they will be found to be entirely wrong. Those enjoyments, then, of games, and gladiators, and banquets, all which things our ancestors desired, are not to be taken away from the Roman people, nor ought candidates to be forbidden the exercise of that kindness which is liberality rather than bribery.
XXXVII. Oh, but it is the interest of the republic that has induced you to become a prosecutor. I do believe, O Cato, that you have come forward under the influence of those feelings and of that opinion. But you err out of ignorance. That which I am doing, O judges, I am doing out of regard to my friendship for Lucius Murena and to his own worth, and I also do assert and call you all to witness that I am doing it for the sake of peace, of tranquillity, of concord, of liberty, of safety,—ay, even for the sake of the lives of us all. Listen, O judges, listen to the consul,—I will not speak with undue arrogance, I will only say, who devotes all his thoughts day and night to the republic. Lucius Catiline did not despise and scorn the republic to such a degree as to think that with the forces which he took away with him he could subdue this city. The contagion of that wickedness spreads more widely than any one believes: more men are implicated in it than people are aware of. It is within the city,—the Trojan horse, I say, is within the city; but you shall never be surprised sleeping by that while I am consul. You ask of me why I am afraid of Catiline? I am not; and I have taken care that no one should have any reason to be afraid of him; but I do say that those soldiers of his, whom I see present here, are objects of fear: nor is the army which Lucius Catiline now has with him as formidable as those men are who are said to have deserted that army; for they have not deserted it, but they have been left by him as spies, as men placed in ambuscade, to threaten our lives and liberties. Those men are very anxious that an upright consul and an able general, a man connected both by nature and by fortune with the safety of the republic, should by your decision be removed from the office of protecting the city, from the guardianship of the state. Their swords and their audacity I have procured the rejection of in the campus, I have disarmed them in the forum, I have often checked them at my own house; but if you now give them up one of the consuls, they will have gained much more by your votes than by their own swords. That which I, in spite of the resistance of many, have managed and carried through, namely, that on the first of January there should be two consuls in the republic, is of great consequence, O judges. Never believe that by consuls of moderate abilities, or by the ordinary modes of proceeding
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It is not some unjust law, some mischievous bribery, or some improprieties in the republic that have just been heard of, that are the real objects for your inquiry now. Plans have been formed in this state, O judges, for destroying the city, for massacring the citizens, for extinguishing the Roman name. They are citizens,—citizens, I say, (if indeed it is lawful to call them by this name,) who are forming and have formed these plans respecting their own country. Every day I am counteracting their designs, disarming their audacity, resisting their wickedness. But I warn you, O judges; my consulship is now just at an end. Do not refuse me a successor in my diligence; do not refuse me him, to whom I am anxious to deliver over the republic in a sound condition, that he may defend it from these great dangers.
XXXVIII. And do you not see, O judges, what other evil there is added to these evils? I am addressing you,—you, O Cato. Do you not foresee a storm in your year of office? for in yesterday’s assembly there thundered out the mischievous voice of a tribune1 elect, one of your own colleagues; against whom your own mind took many precautions, and so too did all good men, when they invited you to stand for the tribuneship. Everything which has been plotted for the last three years, from the time when you know that the design of massacring the senate was first formed by Lucius Catiline and by Cnæus Piso, is now breaking out on these days, in these months, at this time. What place is there, O judges, what time, what day, what night is there, that I have not been delivered and escaped from their plots and attacks, not only by my own prudence, but much more by the providence of the gods? It was not that they wished to slay me as an individual, but that they wished to get rid of a vigilant consul, and to remove him from the guardianship of the republic; and they would be just as glad, O Cato, to remove you too, if they could by any means contrive to do so; and believe me, that is what they are wishing and planning to do. They see how much courage, how much ability, how much authority, how much protection for the republic there is in you; but they think that, when they have once seen the power of the tribunes stripped of the support which it derives from the authority and assistance of the consuls, they will then find it easier to crush you when you are deprived of your arms and vigour. For they have no fear of another consul being elected in the place of this one; they see that that will depend upon your colleagues; they hope that Silanus, an illustrious man, will be exposed to their attacks without any colleague; and that so will you without any consul; and that so will the republic without any protector. When such are our circumstances, and such our perils, it becomes you, O Marcus Cato, who have been born, not for my good, nor for your own good, but for that of your country, to perceive what are their real objects; to retain as your assistant, and defender, and partner in the republic, a consul who has no private desires to gratify, a consul (as this season particularly requires) formed by fortune to court ease, but by knowledge to carry on war, and by courage and practice to discharge in a proper manner whatever business you can impose upon him.
XXXIX. Although the whole power of providing for this rests with you, O judges,—you, in this cause, are the masters and directors of the whole republic,—if Lucius Catiline, with his council of infamous men whom he took out with him, could give his decision in this case, he would condemn Lucius Murena; if he could put him to death, he would. For his plans require the republic to be deprived of every sort of aid; they require the number of generals who may be opposed to his frenzy to be diminished; they require that greater power should be given to the tribunes of the people, when they have driven away their adversary, to raise sedition and discord. Will, then, thoroughly honourable and wise men, chosen out of the most dignified orders of the state, give the same decision that most profligate gladiator, the enemy of the republic, would give? Believe me, O judges, in this case you are deciding not only about the safety of Lucius Murena, but also on your own. We are in a situation of extreme danger; there is no means now of repairing the losses which we have already sustained, or of recovering the ground which we have lost. We must take care not only not to diminish the resources which we still have, but to provide ourselves with additional ones if that be possible. For the enemy is not on the Anio, which in the time of the Punic war appeared a most terrible thing, but he is in the city, in the forum; (O ye immortal gods! this cannot be said without a groan;) there are even some enemies in this sacred temple of the republic, in the very senate-house itself. May the gods grant that my colleague, that most gallant man, may be able in arms to overtake and crush this impious piratical war of Catiline’s. I, in the garb of peace, with you and all virtuous men for my assistants, will endeavour by my prudence to divide and destroy the dangers which the republic is pregnant with and about to bring forth. But still, what will be the consequences if these things slip through our hands and remain in vigour till the ensuing year? There will be but one consul; and he will have sufficient occupation, not in conducting a war, but in managing the election of a colleague. Those who will hinder him NA* * * * * *
That intolerable pest, NA* * * * * will break forth wherever it can find room; and even now it is threatening the Roman people; soon it will descend upon the suburban districts; frenzy will range at large among the camp, fear in the senate-house, conspiracy in the forum, an army in the Campus Martius, and devastation all over the country. In every habitation, and in every place, we shall live in fear of fire and sword. And yet all these evils, which have been so long making ready against us, if the republic is fortified by its natural means of protection, will be easily put down by the counsels of the magistrates and the diligence of private individuals.
XL. And as this is the case, O judges, in the first place for the sake of the republic, than which nothing ought to be of more importance in the eyes of every one, I do warn you, as I am entitled to do by my extreme diligence in the cause of the republic, which is well known to all of you,—I do exhort you, as my consular authority gives me a right to do,—I do entreat you, as the magnitude of the danger justifies me in doing, to provide for the tranquillity, for the peace, for the safety, for the lives of yourselves and of all the rest of your fellow-citizens. In the next place I do appeal to your good faith, O judges, (whether you may think that I do so in the spirit of an advocate or a friend signifies but little,) and beg of you, not to overwhelm the recent exaltation of Lucius Murena, an unfortunate man, of one oppressed both by bodily disease and by vexation of mind, by a fresh cause for mourning. He has been lately distinguished by the greatest kindness of the Roman people, and has seemed fortunate in being the first man to bring the honours of the consulship into an old family, and a most ancient municipality. Now, in a mourning and unbecoming garb, debilitated by sickness, worn out with tears and grief, he is a suppliant to you, O judges. invoking your good faith, imploring your pity, fixing all his hopes on your power and your assistance. Do not, in the name of the immortal gods, O judges, deprive him not only of that office which he thought conferred additional honour on him, and at the same time of all the honours which he had gained before, and of all his dignity and fortune. And, O judges, what Lucius Murena is begging and entreating of you is no more than this; that if he has done no injury unjustly to any one, if he has offended no man’s ears or inclination, if he has never (to say the least) given any one reason to hate him either at home or when engaged in war, he may in that case find among you moderation in judging, and a refuge for men in dejection, and assistance for modest merit. The deprivation of the consulship is a measure calculated to excite great feelings of pity, O judges. For with the consulship everything else is taken away too. And at such times as these the consulship itself is hardly a thing to envy a man. For it is exposed to the harangues of seditious men, to the plots of conspirators, to the attacks of Catiline. It is opposed single-handed to every danger, and to every sort of unpopularity. So that, O judges, I do not see what there is in this beautiful consulship which need be grudged to Murena, or to any other man among us. But those things in it which are calculated to make a man an object of pity, are visible to my eyes, and you too can clearly see and comprehend them.
XLI. If (may Jupiter avert the omen) you condemn this man by your decision, where is the unhappy man to turn? Home? What, that he may see that image of that most illustrious man his father, which a few days ago he beheld crowned with laurel when men were congratulating him on his election, now in mourning and lamentation at his disgrace? Or to his mother, who, wretched woman, having lately embraced her son as consul, is now in all the torments or anxiety, lest she should but a short time afterwards behold that same son stripped of all his dignity? But why do I speak of his home or of his mother, when the new punishment of the law deprives him of home, and parent, and of the intercourse with and sight of all his relations? Shall the wretched man then go into banishment? Whither shall he go? Shall he go to the east, where he was for many years lieutenant, where he commanded armies, and performed many great exploits? But it is a most painful thing to return to a place in disgrace, from which you have departed in honour. Shall he hide himself in the opposite regions of the earth, so as to let Transalpine Gaul see the same man grieving and mourning, whom it lately saw with the greatest joy, exercising the highest authority? In that same province, moreover, with what feelings will he behold Caius Murena, his own brother? What will be the grief of the one, what will be the agony of the other? What will be the lamentations of both? How great will the vicissitudes of fortune appear, and what a change will there be in every one’s conversation, when in the very places in which a few days before messengers and letters had repeated, with every indication of joy, that Murena had been made consul,—in the very places from which his own friends and his hereditary connexions flocked to Rome for the purpose of congratulating him, he himself arrives on a sudden as the messenger of his own misfortune! And if these things seem bitter, and miserable, and grievous,—if they are most foreign to your general clemency and merciful disposition, O judges, then maintain the kindness done to him by the Roman people; restore the consul to the republic; grant this to his own modesty, grant it to his dead father, grant it to his race and family, grant it also to Lanuvium, that most honourable municipality, the whole population of which you have seen watching this cause with tears and mourning. Do not tear from his ancestral sacrifices to Juno Sospita, to whom all consuls are bound to offer sacrifice, a consul who is so peculiarly her own. Him, if my recommendation has any weight, if my solemn assertion has any authority, I now recommend to you, O judges,—I the consul recommend him to you as consul, promising and undertaking that he will prove most desirous of tranquillity, most anxious to consult the interests of virtuous men, very active against sedition, very brave in war, and an irreconcilable enemy to this conspiracy, which is at this moment seeking to undermine the republic.
[1 ]The comitia centuriata, or as they were sometimes called majora, were the assembly in which the people gave their votes according to the classification instituted by Servius Tullius; they were held in the Campus Martius without the city, and in reference to their military organization they were summoned by the sound of the horn, not by the voice of the lictor. All magistrates were elected in these comitia.
[1 ]There had been several previous laws against bribery and corruption (de ambitu). The Lex Acilia, passed b.c. 67, imposed a fine on the offending party, with exclusion from the senate, and from all public offices. The Lex Tullia, passed in Cicero’s consulship, added banishment for ten years; and, among other restrictions, forbade any one to exhibit gladiators within two years of his being a candidate, unless he was required to do so on a fixed day by a testator’s will.
[1 ]The toga prætexta was a robe bordered with purple, worn by the higher magistrates, and by freeborn children till they arrived at the age of manhood.
[1 ]This refers to the time of Appius the decemvir, when the soldiers, at the call of Virginius, after the death of Virginia, occupied the Aventine, and were joined by great part of the plebs, demanding the abolition of the decemvirate.
[1 ]The Latin strictly is, “pierce the eyes of ravens.” It was a proverbial expression.
[1 ]Coemptio was “a ceremony of marriage consisting in a mock sale, whereby the bride and bridegroom sold themselves to each other.” Riddle in voce. “Coemptio was effected by mancipatio, and consequently the wife was in mancipio.”—Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 603, § v., v. Marriage, (Roman.)
[1 ]In the comitia centuriata the people voted in their centuries; the order in which the centuries voted was decided by lot, and that which gave its vote first was called the centuria prærogativa. The question of a tribus prærogativa is a more disputed point; but on this see Smith, Dict. Ant. p. 997, v. Tribus, (Roman.)
[2 ]This refers to the law of Lucius Roscius Otho, (called Roscia Lex by Horace,) by which the fourteen rows of seats next to those of the senators were reserved for the knights.
[1 ]This was not the Manilian law, in support of which Cicero spoke, to confer the command in Asia on Pompeius; but a law enacting that the votes should be counted without any regard to the centuries in which they were given; but this law was repealed soon after its enactment.
[1 ]Cato was tribune elect.
[1 ]Besides the classes into which the centuries were divided, and the four supernumerary centuries of accensi, velati, proletarii, and capite censi, there were three centuries classed according to their occupation. The fabri, or carpenters, who were attached to the centuries of the first class; the cornicines, or hornblowers, and liticines, or trumpeters, who were reckoned with the fourth class.
[1 ]Samian vessels were made of an inferior earthenware; Carthaginian couches were very low and narrow.
[1 ]The nomenclator was a slave who accompanied the candidate in going his rounds, and told him the name of every one he met, so that he might be able to accost them as if they were personally known to himself.
[1 ]He means Quintus Metellus Nepos, the same man who afterwards prevented his making an address to the people on his resigning his consulship