Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE ELEVENTH ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS. CALLED ALSO THE ELEVENTH PHILIPPIC. - Orations vol. 4: The Fourteen Orations against Marcus Antonius; to which are appended the Treatise on Rhetorical Invention; The Orator; Topics; On Rhetorical Partitions, etc.
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THE ELEVENTH ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS. CALLED ALSO THE ELEVENTH PHILIPPIC. - Marcus Tullius Cicero, Orations vol. 4: The Fourteen Orations against Marcus Antonius; to which are appended the Treatise on Rhetorical Invention; The Orator; Topics; On Rhetorical Partitions, etc. 
The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, trans. C.D. Yonge (London: G. Bell and Sons, 1913-21). Vol. 4.
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THE ELEVENTH ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS.
A short time after the delivery of the preceding speech, news came to Rome of Dolabella (the colleague of Antonius) having been very successful in Asia. He had left Rome before the expiration of his consulship to take possession of Syria, which Antonius had contrived to have allotted him; and he hoped to prevail on the inhabitants of the province of Asia also to abandon Trebonius, (who had been one of the slayers of Cæsar, and was governor of Asia,) and submit to him. Trebonius was residing at Smyrna; and Dolabella arrived before the walls of that town with very few troops, requesting a free passage through Trebonius’s province. Trebonius refused to admit him into the town, but promised that he would permit him to enter Ephesus. Dolabella, however, effected an entry into Smyrna by a nocturnal surprise, and seized Trebonius, whom he murdered with great cruelty.
As soon as the news of this event reached Rome, the consul summoned the senate, which at once declared Dolabella a public enemy, and confiscated his estate. Calenus was the mover of this decree. But besides this motion there was another question to be settled, namely, who was to be appointed to conduct the war against Dolabella. Some proposed to send Publius Servilius; others, that the two consuls should be sent, and should have the two provinces of Asia and Syria allotted to them; and this last proposition Pansa himself was favourable to; and it was supported not only by his friends, but also by the partisans of Antonius, who thought it would draw off the consuls from their present business of relieving Decimus Brutus. But Cicero thought that it would be an insult to Cassius, who was already in those countries, to supersede him as it were, by sending any one else to command there; and so he exerted all his influence to procure a decree entrusting the command to him; though Servilia, the mother-in-law of Cassius, and other of Cassius’s friends, begged him not to disoblige Pansa. He persevered, however, and made the following speech in support of his opinion.
It appears that Cicero failed in his proposition through the influence of Pansa; but before any orders came from Rome, Cassius had defeated Dolabella near Laodicea, and he killed himself to avoid falling into the hands of his conqueror.
I.Amid the great grief, O conscript fathers, or rather misery which we have suffered at the cruel and melancholy death of Caius Trebonius, a most virtuous citizen and a most moderate man, there is still a circumstance or two in the case which I think will turn out beneficial to the republic. For we have now thoroughly seen what great barbarity these men are capable of who have taken up wicked arms against their country. For these two, Dolabella and Antonius, are the very blackest and foulest monsters that have ever lived since the birth of man; one of whom has now done what he wished; and as to the other, it has been plainly shown what he intended. Lucius Cinna was cruel; Caius Marius was unrelenting in his anger; Lucius Sylla was fierce; but still the inhumanity of none of these men ever went beyond death; and that punishment indeed was thought too cruel to be inflicted on citizens.
Here now you have a pair equal in wickedness; unprecedented, unheard of, savage, barbarous. Therefore those men whose vehement mutual hatred and quarrel you recollect a short time ago, have now been united in singular unanimity and mutual attachment by the singularity of their wicked natures and most infamous lives. Therefore, that which Dolabella has now done in a case in which he had the power, Antonius threatens many with. But the former, as he was a long way from our counsels and armies, and as he was not yet aware that the senate had united with the Roman people, relying on the forces of Antonius, has committed those wicked actions which he thought were already put in practice at Rome by his accomplice in wickedness. What else then do you think that this man is contriving or wishing, or what other object do you think he has in the war? All of us who have either entertained the thoughts of freemen concerning the republic, or have given utterance to opinions worthy of ourselves, he decides to be not merely opposed to him, but actual enemies. And he plans inflicting bitterer punishments on us than on the enemy; he thinks death a punishment imposed by nature, but torments and tortures the proper inflictions of anger. What sort of enemy then must we consider that man who, if he be victorious, requires one to think death a kindness if he spares one the tortures with which it is in his power to accompany it?
II. Wherefore, O conscript fathers, although you do not need any one to exhort you, (for you yourself have of your own accord warmed up with the desire of recovering your freedom,) still defend, I warn you, your freedom with so much the more zeal and courage, in proportion as the punishments of slavery with which you see the conquered are threatened are more terrible. Antonius has invaded Gaul; Dolabella, Asia; each a province with which he had no business whatever. Brutus has opposed himself to the one, and at the peril of his own life has checked the onset of that frantic man wishing to harass and plunder everything, has prevented his further progress, and has cut him off from his return. By allowing himself to be besieged he has hemmed in Antonius on each side.
The other has forced his way into Asia. With what object? If it was merely to proceed into Syria, he had a road open to him which was sure, and was not long. What was the need of sending forward some Marsian, they call him Octavius, with a legion; a wicked and necessitous robber; a man to lay waste the lands, to harass the cities, not from any hope of acquiring any permanent property, which they who know him say that he is unable to keep, (for I have not the honour of being acquainted with this senator myself,) but just as present food to satisfy his indigence? Dolabella followed him, without any one having any suspicion of war. For how could any one think of such a thing? Very friendly conferences with Trebonius ensued; embraces, false tokens of the greatest good-will, were there full of simulated affection; the pledge of the right hand, which used to be a witness of good faith, was violated by treachery and wickedness; then came the nocturnal entry into Smyrna, as if into an enemy’s city—Smyrna, which is a city of our most faithful and most ancient allies; then the surprise of Trebonius, who, if he were surprised by one who was an open enemy, was very careless; if by one who up to that moment maintained the appearance of a citizen, was miserable. And by his example fortune wished us to take a lesson of what the conquered party had to fear. He handed over a man of consular rank, governing the province of Asia with consular authority, to an exiled armourer;1 he would not slay him the moment that he had taken him, fearing, I suppose, that his victory might appear too merciful; but after having attacked that most excellent man with insulting words from his impious mouth, then he examined him with scourges and tortures concerning the public money, and that for two days together. Afterwards he cut off his head, and ordered it to be fixed on a javelin and carried about; and the rest of his body, having been dragged through the street and town, he threw into the sea.
We, then, have to war against this enemy by whose most foul cruelty all the savageness of barbarous nations is surpassed. Why need I speak of the massacre of Roman citizens? of the plunder of temples? Who is there who can possibly deplore such circumstances as their atrocity deserves? And now he is ranging all over Asia, he is triumphing about as a king, he thinks that we are occupied in another quarter by another war, as if it were not one and the same war against this outrageous pair of impious men.
III. You see now an image of the cruelty of Marcus Antonius in Dolabella; this conduct of his is formed on the model of the other. It is by him that the lessons of wickedness have been taught to Dolabella. Do you think that Antonius, if he had the power, would be more merciful in Italy than Dolabella has proved in Asia? To me, indeed, this latter appears to have gone as far as the insanity of a savage man could go; nor do I believe that Antonius either would omit any description of punishment, if he had only the power to inflict it.
Place then before your eyes, O conscript fathers, that spectacle, miserable indeed, and tearful, but still indispensable to rouse your minds properly: the nocturnal attack upon the most beautiful city in Asia; the irruption of armed men into Trebonius’s house, when that unhappy man saw the swords of the robbers before he heard what was the matter; the entrance of Dolabella, raging,—his ill-omened voice, and infamous countenance,—the chains, the scourges, the rack, the armourer who was both torturer and executioner; all which they say that the unhappy Trebonius endured with great fortitude. A great praise, and in my opinion indeed the greatest of all, for it is the part of a wise man to resolve beforehand that whatever can happen to a brave man is to be endured with patience if it should happen. It is indeed a proof of altogether greater wisdom to act with such foresight as to prevent any such thing from happening; but it is a token of no less courage to bear it bravely if it should befal one.
And Dolabella was indeed so wholly forgetful of the claims of humanity, (although, indeed, he never had any particular recollection of it,) as to vent his insatiable cruelty, not only on the living man, but also on the dead carcass, and, as he could not sufficiently glut his hatred, to feed his eyes also on the lacerations inflicted, and the insults offered to his corpse.
IV. O Dolabella, much more wretched than he whom you intended to be the most wretched of all men! Trebonius endured great agonies; many men have endured greater still, from severe disease, whom, however, we are in the habit of calling not miserable, but afflicted. His sufferings, which lasted two days, were long; but many men have had sufferings lasting many years; nor are the tortures inflicted by executioners more terrible than those caused by disease are sometimes. There are other tortures,—others, I tell you, O you most abandoned and insane man, which are far more miserable. For in proportion as the vigour of the mind exceeds that of the body, so also are the sufferings which rack the mind more terrible than those which are endured by the body. He, therefore, who commits a wicked action is more wretched than he who is compelled to endure the wickedness of another. Trebonius was tortured by Dolabella; and so, indeed, was Regulus by the Carthaginians. If on that account the Carthaginians were considered very cruel for such behaviour to an enemy, what must we think of Dolabella, who treated a citizen in such a manner? Is there any comparison? or can we doubt which of the two is most miserable? he whose death the senate and Roman people wish to avenge, or he who has been adjudged an enemy by the unanimous vote of the senate? For in every other particular of their lives, who could possibly, without the greatest insult to Trebonius, compare the life of Trebonius to that of Dolabella? Who is ignorant of the wisdom, and genius, and humanity, and innocence of the one, and of his greatness of mind as displayed in his exertions for the freedom of his country? The other, from his very childhood, has taken delight in cruelty; and, moreover, such has been the shameful nature of his lusts, that he has always delighted in the very fact of doing those things which he could not even be reproached with by a modest enemy.
And this man, O ye immortal gods, was once my relation! For his vices were unknown to one who did not inquire into such things: nor perhaps should I now be alienated from him if he had not been discovered to be an enemy to you, to the walls of his country, to this city, to our household gods, to the altars and hearths of all of us,—in short, to human nature and to common humanity. But now, having received this lesson from him, let us be the more diligent and vigilant in being on our guard against Antonius.
V. Indeed, Dolabella had not with him any great number of notorious and conspicuous robbers. But you see there are with Antonius, and in what numbers. In the first place, there is his brother Lucius—what a firebrand, O ye immortal gods! what an incarnation of crime and wickedness! what a gulf, what a whirlpool of a man! What do you think that man incapable of swallowing up in his mind, or gulping down in his thoughts? Who do you imagine there is whose blood he is not thirsting for? who, on whose possessions and fortunes he is not fixing his most impudent eyes, his hopes, and his whole heart? What shall we say of Censorinus? who, as far as words go, said indeed that he wished to be the city prætor; but who, in fact, was unwilling to be so. What of Bestia, who professes that he is a candidate for the consulship in the place of Brutus? May Jupiter avert from us this most detestable omen! But how absurd is it for a man to stand for the consulship who cannot be elected prætor! unless, indeed, he thinks his conviction may be taken as an equivalent to the prætorship. Let this second Cæsar, this great Vopiscus,1 a man of consummate genius, of the highest influence, who seeks the consulship immediately after having been ædile, be excused from obedience to the laws. Although, indeed, the laws do not bind him, on account, I suppose, of his exceeding dignity. But this man has been acquitted five times when I have defended him. To win a sixth city victory is difficult, even in the case of a gladiator. However, this is the fault of the judges; not mine. I defended him with perfect good faith; they were bound to retain a most illustrious and excellent citizen in the republic; who now, however, appears to have no other object except to make us understand that those men whose judicial decisions we annulled, decided rightly and in a manner advantageous to the republic.
Nor is this the case with respect to this man alone; there are other men in the same camp honestly condemned and shamefully restored; what counsel do you imagine can be adopted by those men who are enemies to all good men, that is not utterly cruel? There is besides a fellow called Saxa; I don’t know who he is; some man whom Cæsar imported from the extremity of Celtiberia and gave us for a tribune of the people. Before that, he was a measurer of ground for camps: now he hopes to measure out and value the city. May the evils which this foreigner predicts to us fall on his own head, and may we escape in safety! With him is the veteran Capho; nor is there any man whom the veteran troops hate more cordially: to these men, as if in addition to the dowry which they had received during our civil disasters, Antonius had given the Campanian district, that they might have it as a sort of nurse for their other estates. I only wish they would be contented with them! We would bear it then, though it would not be what ought to be borne; but still it would be worth our while to bear anything, as long as we could escape this most shameful war.
VI. What more? Have you not before your eyes those ornaments of the camp of Marcus Antonius? In the first place, these two colleagues of the Antonii and Dolabella, Nucula and Lento, the dividers of all Italy according to that law which the senate pronounced to have been carried by violence; one of whom has been a writer of farces, and the other an actor of tragedies. Why should I speak of Domitius the Apulian? whose property we have lately seen advertised, so great is the carelessness of his agents. But this man lately was not content with giving poison to his sister’s son, he actually drenched him with it. But it is impossible for these men to live in any other than a prodigal manner, who hope for our property while they are squandering their own. I have seen also an auction of the property of Publius Decius, an illustrious man; who, following the example of his ancestors, devoted himself for the debts of another. But at that auction no one was found to be a purchaser. Ridiculous man to think it possible to escape from debt by selling other people’s property! For why should I speak of Trebellius? on whom the furies of debts seem to have wrecked their vengeance; for we have seen one table1 avenging another. Why should I speak of Plancus? whom that most illustrious citizen Aquila has driven from Pollentia,—and that too with a broken leg; and I wish he had met with that accident earlier, so as not to be liable to return hither.
I had almost passed over the light and glory of that army, Caius Annius Cimber, the son of Lysidicus, a Lysidicus himself in the Greek meaning of the word, since he has broken all laws, unless perhaps it is natural for a Cimbrian to slay a German.2 When Antonius has such numbers with him, and those too men of that sort, what crime will he shrink from, when Dolabella has polluted himself with such atrocious murders without at all an equal troop of robbers to support him? Wherefore, as I have often at other times differed against my will from Quintus Fufius, so on this occasion I gladly agree with his proposition. And from this you may see that my difference is not with the man, but with the cause which he sometimes advocates.
Therefore, at present I not only agree with Quintus Fufius, but I even return thanks to him; for he has given utterance to opinions which are upright, and dignified, and worthy of the republic. He has pronounced Dolabella a public enemy; he has declared his opinion that his property ought to be confiscated by public authority. And though nothing could be added to this; (for, indeed, what could he propose more severe or more pitiless?) nevertheless, he said that if any of those men who were asked their opinion after him proposed any more severe sentence, he would vote for it. Who can avoid praising such severity as this?
VII. Now, since Dolabella has been pronounced a public enemy, he must be pursued by war. For he himself will not remain quiet. He has a legion with him; he has troops of runaway slaves, he has a wicked band of impious men; he himself is confident, intemperate, and bent on falling by the death of a gladiator. Wherefore, since, as Dolabella was voted an enemy by the decree which was passed yesterday, war must be waged, we must necessarily appoint a general.
Two opinions have been advanced; neither of which do I approve. The one, because I always think it dangerous unless it be absolutely necessary; the other, because I think it wholly unsuited to the emergency. For an extraordinary commission is a measure suited rather to the fickle character of the mob; one which does not at all become our dignity or this assembly. In the war against Antiochus, a great and important war, when Asia had fallen by lot to Lucius Scipio as his province, and when he was thought to have hardly spirit and hardly vigour enough for it; and when the senate was inclined to entrust the business to his colleague Caius Lælius, the father of this Lælius, who was surnamed the Wise; Publius Africanus, the elder brother of Lucius Scipio, rose up, and entreated them not to cast such a slur on his family, and said that in his brother there was united the greatest possible valour, with the most consummate prudence; and that he too, notwithstanding his age, and all the exploits which he had performed, would attend his brother as his lieutenant. And after he had said this, nothing was changed in respect to Scipio’s province; nor was any extraordinary command sought for any more in that war than in those two terrible Punic wars which had preceded it, which were carried on and conducted to their termination either by the consuls or by dictators; or than in the war with Pyrrhus, or in that with Philippus, or afterwards in the Achæan war, or in the third Punic war; for which last the Roman people took great care to select a suitable general, Publius Scipio, but at the same time it appointed him to the consulship in order to conduct it.
VIII. War was to be waged against Aristonicus in the consulship of Publius Licinius and Lucius Valerius. The people was consulted as to whom it wished to have the management of that war. Crassus, the consul and Pontifex Maximus, threatened to impose a fine upon Flaccus his colleague, the priest of Mars, if he deserted the sacrifices. And though the people remitted the fine, still they ordered the priest to submit to the commands of the pontiff. But even then the Roman people did not commit the management of the war to a private individual; although there was Africanus, who the year before had celebrated a triumph over the people of Numantia; and who was far superior to all men in martial renown and military skill; yet he only gained the votes of two tribunes. And accordingly the Roman people entrusted the management of the war to Crassus the consul rather than to the private individual Africanus. As to the commands given to Cnæus Pompeius, that most illustrious man, that first of men, they were carried by some turbulent tribunes of the people. For the war against Sertorius was only given by the senate to a private individual because the consuls refused it; when Lucius Philippus said that he sent the general in the place of the two consuls, not as proconsul.
What then is the object of these comitia? or what is the meaning of this canvassing which that most wise and dignified citizen, Lucius Cæsar, has introduced into the senate? He has proposed to vote a military command to one who is certainly a most illustrious and unimpeachable man, but still only a private individual. And by doing so he has imposed a heavy burden upon us. Suppose I agree; shall I by so doing countenance the introduction of the practice of canvassing into the senate-house? Suppose I vote against it; shall I appear as if I were in the comitia to have refused an honour to a man who is one of my greatest friends? But if we are to have the comitia in the senate, let us ask for votes, let us canvass; let a voting tablet be given us, just as one is given to the people. Why do you, O Cæsar, allow it to be so managed that either a most illustrious man, if your proposition be not agreed too, shall appear to have received a repulse, or else that one of us shall appear to have been passed over, if, while we are men of equal dignity, we are not considered worthy of equal honour?
But, (for this is what I hear is said,) I myself gave by my own vote an extraordinary commission to Caius Cæsar. Ay, indeed, for he had given me extraordinary protection; when I say me, I mean he had given it to the senate and to the Roman people. Was I to refuse giving an extraordinary military command to that man from whom the republic had received protection which had never even been thought of, but that still was of so much consequence that without it she could not have been safe? There were only the alternatives of taking his army from him, or giving him such a command. For on what principle or by what means can an army be retained by a man who has not been invested with any military command? We must not, therefore, think that a thing has been given to a man which has, in fact, not been taken away from him. You would, O conscript fathers, have taken a command away from Caius Cæsar, if you had not given him one. The veteran soldiers, who, following his authority and command and name, had taken up arms in the cause of the republic, desired to be commanded by him. The Martial legion and the fourth legion had submitted to the authority of the senate, and had devoted themselves to uphold the dignity of the republic, in such a way as to feel that they had a right to demand Caius Cæsar for their commander. It was the necessity of the war that invested Caius Cæsar with military command; the senate only gave him the ensigns of it. But I beg you to tell me, O Lucius Cæsar,—I am aware that I am arguing with a man of the greatest experience,—when did the senate ever confer a military command on a private individual who was in a state of inactivity, and doing nothing?
IX. However, I have been speaking hitherto to avoid the appearance of gratuitously opposing a man who is a great friend of mine, and who has showed me great kindness. Although, can one deny a thing to a person who not only does not ask for it, but who even refuses it? But, O conscript fathers, that proposition is unsuited to the dignity of the consuls, unsuited to the critical character of the times; namely, the proposition that the consuls, for the sake of pursuing Dolabella, shall have the provinces of Asia and Syria allotted to them. I will explain why it is inexpedient for the republic; but first of all, consider what ignominy it fixes on the consuls. When a consul elect is being besieged, when the safety of the republic depends upon his liberation, when mischievous and parricidal citizens have revolted from the republic, and when we are carrying on a war in which we are fighting for our dignity, for our freedom, and for our lives; and when, if any one falls into the power of Antonius, tortures and torments are prepared for him; and when the struggle for all these objects has been committed and entrusted to our most admirable and gallant consuls,—shall any mention be made of Asia and Syria, so that we may appear to have given any injurious cause for others to entertain suspicion of us, or to bring us into unpopularity? They do indeed propose it, “after having liberated Brutus,”—for those were the last words of the proposal; say rather, after having deserted, abandoned, and betrayed him.
But I say that any mention whatever of any provinces has been made at a most unseasonable time. For although your mind, O Caius Pansa, be ever so intent, as indeed it is, on effecting the liberation of the most brave and illustrious of all men, still the nature of things would compel you inevitably sometimes to turn your thoughts to the idea of pursuing Antonius, and to divert some portion of your care and attention to Asia and Syria. But if it were possible, I could wish you to have more minds than one, and yet to direct them all upon Mutina. But since that is impossible, I do wish you, with that most virtuous and all-accomplished mind which you have got, to think of nothing but Brutus. And that, indeed, is what you are doing; that is what you are especially striving at; but still no man can, I will not say do two things, especially two most important things, at one time, but he cannot even do entire justice to them both in his thoughts. It is our duty rather to spur on and inflame that excellent eagerness of yours, and not to transfer any portion of it to another object of care in a different direction.
X. Add to these considerations the way men talk, the way in which they nourish suspicion, the way in which they take dislikes. Imitate me whom you have always praised; for I rejected a province fully appointed and provided by the senate, for the purpose of discarding all other thoughts, and devoting all my efforts to extinguishing the conflagration that threatened to consume my country. There was no one except me alone, to whom, indeed, you would, in consideration of our intimacy, have been sure to communicate anything which concerned your interests, who would believe that the province had been decreed to you against your will. I entreat you, check, as is due to your eminent wisdom, this report, and do not seem to be desirous of that which you do not in reality care about. And you should take the more care of this point, because your colleague, a most illustrious man, cannot fall under the same suspicion. He knows nothing of all that is going on here; he suspects nothing; he is conducting the war; he is standing in battle array; he is fighting for his blood and for his life; he will hear of the province being decreed to him before he could imagine that there had been time for such a proceeding. I am afraid that our armies too, which have devoted themselves to the republic, not from any compulsory levy, but of their own voluntary zeal, will be checked in their ardour, if they suppose that we are thinking of anything but instant war.
But if provinces appear to the consuls as things to be desired, as they often have been desired by many illustrious men; first restore us Brutus, the light and glory of the state; whom we ought to preserve like that statue which fell from heaven, and is guarded by the protection of Vesta: which, as long as it is safe, ensures our safety also. Then we will raise you, if it be possible, even to heaven on our shoulders; unquestionably we will select for you the most worthy provinces. But at present let us apply ourselves to the business before us. And the question is, whether we will live as freemen, or die; for death is certainly to be preferred to slavery. What more need I say? Suppose that proposition causes delay in the pursuit of Dolabella? For when will the consul arrive? Are we waiting till there is not even a vestige of the towns and cities of Asia left? “But they will send some one of their officers.”—That will certainly be a step that I shall quite approve of; I who just now objected to giving any extraordinary military command to ever so illustrious a man if he were only a private individual. “But they will send a man worthy of such a charge.” Will they send one more worthy than Publius Servilius? But the city has not such a man. What then he himself thinks ought to be given to no one, not even by the senate, can I approve of that being conferred by the decision of one man? We have need, O conscript fathers, of a man ready and prepared, and of one who has a military command legally conferred on him; and of one who, besides this, has authority, and a name, and an army, and a courage which has been already tried in his exertions for the deliverance of the republic.
XI. Who then is that man? Either Marcus Brutus, or Caius Cassius, or both of them. I would vote in plain words, as there are many precedents for, one consul or both, if we had not already hampered Brutus sufficiently in Greece, and if we had not preferred having his reinforcement approach nearer to Italy rather than move further off towards Asia; not so much in order to receive succour ourselves from that army, as to enable that army to receive aid across the water. Besides, O conscript fathers, even now Caius Antonius is detaining Marcus Brutus, for he occupies Apollonia, a large and important city; he occupies, as I believe, Byllis; he occupies Amantia; he is threatening Epirus; he is pressing on Illyricum; he has with him several cohorts, and he has cavalry. If Brutus be transferred from this district to any other war, we shall at all events lose Greece. We must also provide for the safety of Brundusium and all that coast of Italy. Although I marvel that Antonius delays so long; for he is accustomed usually to put on his marching dress, and not to endure the fear of a siege for any length of time. But if Brutus has finished that business, and perceives that he can better serve the republic by pursuing Dolabella than by remaining in Greece, he will act of his own head, as he has hitherto done; nor amid such a general conflagration will he wait for the orders of the senate when instant help is required. For both Brutus and Cassius have in many instances been a senate to themselves. For it is quite inevitable that in such a confusion and disturbance of all things men should be guided by the present emergency rather than by precedent. Nor will this be the first time that either Brutus or Cassius has considered the safety and deliverance of his country his most holy law and his most excellent precedent. Therefore, if there were no motion submitted to us about the pursuit of Dolabella, still I should consider it equivalent to a decree, when there were men of such a character for virtue, authority, and the greatest nobleness, possessing armies, one of which is already known to us, and the other has been abundantly heard of.
XII. Brutus then, you may be sure, has not waited for our decrees, as he was sure of our desires. For he is not gone to his own province of Crete; he has flown to Macedonia, which belonged to another; he has accounted everything his own which you have wished to be yours; he has enlisted new legions; he has received old ones; he has gained over to his own standard the cavalry of Dolabella, and, even before that man was polluted with such enormous parricide, he, of his own head, pronounced him his enemy. For if he were not one, by what right could he himself have tempted the cavalry to abandon the consul? What more need I say? Did not Caius Cassius, a man endowed with equal greatness of mind and with equal wisdom, depart from Italy with the deliberate object of preventing Dolabella from obtaining possession of Syria? By what law? By what right? By that which Jupiter himself has sanctioned, that everything which was advantageous to the republic should be considered legal and just.
For law is nothing but a correct principle drawn from the inspiration of the gods, commanding what is honest, and forbidding the contrary. Cassius, therefore, obeyed this law when he went into Syria; a province which belonged to another, if men were to abide by the written laws; but which, when these were trampled under foot, was his by the law of nature. But in order that they may be sanctioned by your authority also, I now give my vote, that,
“As Publius Dolabella, and those who have been the ministers of and accomplices and assistants in his cruel and infamous crime, have been pronounced enemies of the Roman people by the senate, and as the senate has voted that Publius Dolabella shall be pursued with war, in order that he who has violated all laws of men and gods by a new and unheard-of and inexpiable wickedness, and has committed the most infamous treason against his country, may suffer the punishment which is his due, and which he has well deserved at the hands of gods and men; the senate decrees that Caius Cassius, proconsul, shall have the government of Syria as one appointed to that province with all due form; and that he shall receive their armies from Quintus Marcius Crispus, proconsul, from Lucius Statius Murcus, proconsul, from Aulus Allienus, lieutenant, and that they shall deliver them up to him; and that he, with these troops and with any more which he may have got from other quarters, shall pursue Dolabella with war both by sea and land; that, for the sake of carrying on war, he shall have authority and power to buy ships, and sailors, and money, and whatever else may be necessary or useful for the carrying on of the war, in whatever places it seems fitting to him to do so, throughout Syria, Asia, Bithynia, and Pontus; and that, in whatever province he shall arrive for the purpose of carrying on that war, in that province as soon as Caius Cassius, proconsul, shall arrive in it, the power of Caius Cassius, proconsul, shall be superior to that of him who may be the regular governor of the province at the time. That king Deiotarus the father, and also king Deiotarus the son, if they assist Caius Cassius, proconsul, with their armies and treasures, as they have heretofore often assisted the generals of the Roman people, will do a thing which will be grateful to the senate and people of Rome; and that also, if the rest of the kings and tetrarchs and governors in those districts do the same, the senate and people of Rome will not be forgetful of their loyalty and kindness; and that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, one or both of them, as it seems good to them, as soon as they have reestablished the republic, shall at the earliest opportunity submit a motion to this order about the consular and prætorian provinces; and that, in the meantime, the provinces should continue to be governed by those officers by whom they are governed at present, until a successor be appointed to each by a resolution of the senate.”
XIII. By this resolution of the senate you will inflame the existing ardour of Cassius, and you will give him additional arms; for you cannot be ignorant of his disposition, or of the resources which he has at present. His disposition is such as you see; his resources, which you have heard stated to you, are those of a gallant and resolute man, who, even while Trebonius was alive, would not permit the piratical crew of Dolabella to penetrate into Syria. Allienus, my intimate friend and connexion, who went thither after the death of Trebonius, will not permit himself to be called the lieutenant of Dolabella. The army of Quintus Cæcilius Bassus, a man indeed without any regular appointment, but a brave and eminent man, is vigorous and victorious. The army of Deiotarus the king, both father and son, is very numerous, and equipped in our fashion. Moreover, in the son there is the greatest hope, the greatest vigour of genius and a good disposition, and the most eminent valour. Why need I speak of the father? whose good-will towards the Roman people is coeval with his life; who has not only been the ally of our commanders in their wars, but has also served himself as the general of his own troops. What great things have Sylla, and Murena, and Servilius, and Lucullus said of that man; what complimentary, what honourable and dignified mention have they often made of him in the senate! Why should I speak of Cnæus Pompeius? who considered Deiotarus the only friend and real well-wisher from his heart, the only really loyal man to the Roman people in the whole world? We were generals, Marcus Bibulus and I, in neighbouring provinces bordering on his kingdom; and we were assisted by that same monarch both with cavalry and infantry. Then followed this most miserable and disastrous civil war; in which I need not say what Deiotarus ought to have done, or what would have been the most proper course which he could have adopted especially as victory decided for the party opposed to the wishes of Deiotarus. And if in that war he committed any error, he did so in common with the senate. If his judgment was the right one, then even though defeated it does not deserve to be blamed. To these resources other kings and other levies of troops will be added. Nor will fleets be wanting to us; so greatly do the Tyrians esteem Cassius, so mighty is his name in Syria and Phœnicia.
XIV. The republic, O conscript fathers, has a general ready against Dolabella, in Caius Cassius, and not ready only, but also skilful and brave. He performed great exploits before the arrival of Bibulus, a most illustrious man, when he defeated the most eminent generals of the Parthians and their innumerable armies, and delivered Syria from their most formidable invasion. I pass over his greatest and most extraordinary glory; for as the mention of it is not yet acceptable to every one, we had better preserve it in our recollection than by bearing testimony to it with our voice.
I have noticed, O conscript fathers, that some people have said before now, that even Brutus is too much extolled by me, that Cassius is too much extolled; and that by this proposition of mine absolute power and quite a principality is conferred upon Cassius. Whom do I extol? Those who are themselves the glory of the republic. What? have I not at all times extolled Decimus Brutus whenever I have delivered my opinion at all? Do you then find fault with me? or should I rather praise the Antonii, the disgrace and infamy not only of their own families, but of the Roman name? or should I speak in favour of Censorinus, an enemy in time of war, an assassin in time of peace? or should I collect all the other ruined men of that band of robbers? But I am so far from extolling those enemies of tranquillity, of concord, of the laws, of the courts of justice, and of liberty, that I cannot avoid hating them as much as I love the republic. “Beware,” says one, “how you offend the veterans.” For this is what I am most constantly told. But I certainly ought to protect the rights of the veterans; of those at least who are well disposed; but surely I ought not to fear them. And those veterans who have taken up arms in the cause of the republic, and have followed Caius Cæsar, remembering the kindnesses which they received from his father, and who at this day are defending the republic to their own great personal danger,—those I ought not only to defend, but to seek to procure additional advantages for them. But those also who remain quiet, such as the sixth and eighth legion, I consider worthy of great glory and praise. But as for those companions of Antonius, who after they have devoured the benefits of Cæsar, besiege the consul elect, threaten this city with fire and sword, and have given themselves up to Saxa and Capho, men born for crime and plunder, who is there who thinks that those men ought to be defended? Therefore the veterans are either good men, whom we ought to load with distinctions; or quiet men, whom we ought to preserve; or impious ones, against whose frenzy we have declared war and taken up legitimate arms.
XV. Who then are the veterans whom we are to be fearful of offending? Those who are desirous to deliver Decimus Brutus from siege? for how can those men, to whom the safety of Brutus is dear, hate the name of Cassius? Or those men who abstain from taking arms on either side? I have no fear of any of those men who delight in tranquillity becoming a mischievous citizen. But as for the third class, whom I call not veteran soldiers, but infamous enemies, I wish to inflict on them the most bitter pain. Although, O conscript fathers, how long are we to deliver our opinions as it may please the veterans? why are we to yield so much to their haughtiness? why are we to make their arrogance of such importance as to choose our generals with reference to their pleasure? But I (for I must speak, O conscript fathers, what I feel,) think that we ought not so much to regard the veterans, as to look at what the young soldiers, the flower of Italy—at what the new legions, most eager to effect the deliverance of their country—at what all Italy will think of your wisdom. For there is nothing which flourishes for ever. Age succeeds age. The legions of Cæsar have flourished for a long time; but now those who are flourishing are the legions of Pansa, and the legions of Hirtius, and the legions of the son of Cæsar, and the legions of Plancus. They surpass the veterans in number; they have the advantage of youth; moreover, they surpass them also in authority. For they are engaged in waging that war which is approved of by all nations. Therefore, rewards have been promised to these latter. To the former they have been already paid;—let them enjoy them. But let these others have those rewards given to them which we have promised them. For that is what I hope that the immortal gods will consider just.
And as this is the case, I give my vote for the proposition which I have made to you, O conscript fathers, being adopted by you.
[1 ]The Latin is Samiarius, or as some read it Samarius. Orellius says, “perhaps it means some sort of trade, for I doubt its having been a Roman proper name.” Nizollius says, “Samarius exul—provertium.” Facciolatti calls him a man whose business it was to clean the arms of the guards, &c. with Samian chalk.
[1 ]Vopiscus is another name of Bestia.
[1 ]It is impossible to give the force of the original here, which plays on the word tabula. The Latin is, “vindicem enim novarum tabularum novam tabulam vidimus;” novæ tabulæ meaning, as is well known, a law for the abolition of debts; nova tabula in the singular, an advertisement of (Trebellius’s) property being to be sold.
[2 ]Here too is a succession of puns. Lysidicus is derived from the Greek λύω, to loosen, and δίκη, justice. Cimber is a proper name, and also means one of the nation of the Cimbri; Germanus is a German, and germanus a brother; and he means here to impute to Caius Cimber that he had murdered his brother.