Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE FOURTEENTH (AND LAST) ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS. CALLED ALSO THE FOURTEENTH 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 FOURTEENTH (AND LAST) ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS. CALLED ALSO THE FOURTEENTH 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 FOURTEENTH (AND LAST) ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS.
After the last speech was delivered, Brutus gained great advantages in Macedonia over Caius Antonius, and took him prisoner. He treated him with great lenity, so much so as to displease Cicero, who remonstrated with him strongly on his design of setting him at liberty. He was also under some apprehension as to the steadiness of Plancus’s loyalty to the senate; but on his writing to that body to assure them of his obedience, Cicero procured a vote of some extraordinary honours to him.
Cassius also about the same time was very successful in Syria, of which he wrote Cicero a full account. Meantime reports were being spread in the city by the partizans of Antonius, of his success before Mutina; and even of his having gained over the consuls. Cicero too was personally much annoyed at a report which they spread of his having formed the design of making himself master of the city and assuming the title of Dictator; but when Apuleius, one of his friends, and a tribune of the people, proceeded to make a speech to the people in Cicero’s justification, the people all cried out that he had never done anything which was not for the advantage of the republic. About the same time news arrived of a victory gained over Antonius at Mutina.
Pansa was now on the point of joining Hirtius with four new legions, and Antonius endeavoured to surprise him on the road before he could effect that junction. A severe battle ensued, in which Hirtius came to Pansa’s aid, and Antonius was defeated with great loss. On the receipt of the news the populace assembled about Cicero’s house, and carried him in triumph to the Capitol. The next day Marcus Cornutus, the prætor, summoned the senate to deliberate on the letters received from the consuls and Octavius, giving an account of the victory. Servilius declared his opinion that the citizens should relinquish the sagum, or robe of war; and that a supplication should be decreed in honour of the consuls and Octavius. Cicero rose next and delivered the following speech, objecting to the relinquishment of the robe of war, and blaming Servilius for not calling Antonius an enemy.
The measures which he himself proposed were carried.
I.If, O conscript fathers, while I learnt from the letters which have been read that the army of our most wicked enemies had been defeated and routed, I had also learnt what we all wish for above all things, and which we do suppose has resulted from that victory which has been achieved,—namely, that Decimus Brutus had already quitted Mutina,—then I should without any hesitation give my vote for our returning to our usual dress out of joy at the safety of that citizen on account of whose danger it was that we adopted the robe of war. But before any news of that event which the city looks for with the greatest eagerness arrives, we have sufficient reason indeed for joy at this most important and most illustrious battle; but reserve, I beg you, your return to your usual dress for the time of complete victory. But the completion of this war is the safety of Decimus Brutus.
But what is the meaning of this proposal that our dress shall be changed just for to-day, and that to-morrow we should again come forth in the garb of war? Rather when we have once returned to that dress which we wish and desire to assume, let us strive to retain it for ever; for this is not only discreditable, but it is displeasing also to the immortal gods, to leave their altars, which we have approached in the attire of peace, for the purpose of assuming the garb of war. And I notice, O conscript fathers, that there are some who favour this proposal: whose intention and design is, as they see that that will be a most glorious day for Decimus Brutus on which we return to our usual dress out of joy for his safety, to deprive him of this great reward, so that it may not be handed down to the recollection of posterity that the Roman people had recourse to the garb of war on account of the danger of one single citizen, and then returned to their gowns of peace on account of his safety. Take away this reason, and you will find no other for so absurd a proposal. But do you, O conscript fathers, preserve your authority, adhere to your own opinions, preserve in your recollection, what you have often declared, that the whole result of this entire war depends on the life of one most brave and excellent man.
II. For the purpose of effecting the liberation of Decimus Brutus, the chief men of the state were sent as ambassadors, to give notice to that enemy and parricidal traitor to retire from Mutina: for the sake of preserving that same Decimus Brutus, Aulus Hirtius, the consul, went by lot to conduct the war; a man the weakness of whose bodily health was made up for by the strength of his courage, and encouraged by the hope of victory: Cæsar, too, after he, with an army levied by his own resources and on his own authority, had delivered the republic from the first dangers that assailed it, in order to prevent any subsequent wicked attempts from being originated, departed to assist in the deliverance of the same Brutus, and subdued some family vexation which he may have felt by his attachment to his country. What other object had Caius Pansa in holding the levies which he did, and in collecting money, and in carrying the most severe resolutions of the senate against Antonius, and in exhorting us, and in inviting the Roman people to embrace the cause of liberty, except to ensure the deliverance of Decimus Brutus? For the Roman people in crowds demanded at his hands the safety of Decimus Brutus with such unanimous outcries, that he was compelled to prefer it not only to any consideration of his own personal advantage, but even to his own necessities. And that end we now, O conscript fathers, are entitled to hope is either at the point of being achieved, or is actually gained; but it is right for the reward of our hopes to be reserved for the issue and event of the business, lest we should appear either to have anticipated the kindness of the gods by our over precipitation, or to have despised the bounty of fortune through our own folly.
But since the manner of your behaviour shows plainly enough what you think of this matter, I will come to the letters which have arrived from the consuls and the proprætor, after I have said a few words relating to the letters themselves.
III. The swords, O conscript fathers, of our legions and armies have been stained with, or rather, I should say, dipped deep in blood in two battles which have taken place under the consuls, and a third, which has been fought under the command of Cæsar. If it was the blood of enemies, then great is the piety of the soldiers; but it is nefarious wickedness if it was the blood of citizens. How long, then, is that man, who has surpassed all enemies in wickedness, to be spared the name of enemy? unless you wish to see the very swords of our soldiers trembling in their hands while they doubt whether they are piercing a citizen or an enemy. You vote a supplication; you do not call Antonius an enemy. Very pleasing indeed to the immortal gods will our thanksgivings be, very pleasing too the victims, after a multitude of our citizens has been slain! “For the victory,” says the proposer of the supplication, “over wicked and audacious men.” For that is what this most illustrious man calls them; expressions of blame suited to lawsuits carried on in the city, not denunciations of searing infamy such as deserved by internecine war. I suppose they are forging wills, or trespassing on their neighbours, or cheating some young men; for it is men implicated in these and similar practices that we are in the habit of terming wicked and audacious. One man, the foulest of all banditti, is waging an irreconcileable war against four consuls. He is at the same time carrying on war against the senate and people of Rome. He is (although he is himself hastening to destruction, through the disasters which he has met with) threatening all of us with destruction, and devastation, and torments, and tortures. He declares that that inhuman and savage act of Dolabella’s, which no nation of barbarians would have owned, was done by his advice; and what he himself would do in this city, if this very Jupiter, who now looks down upon us assembled in his temple, had not repelled him from this temple and from these walls, he showed, in the miseries of those inhabitants of Parma, whom, virtuous and honourable men as they were, and most intimately connected with the authority of this order, and with the dignity of the Roman people, that villain and monster, Lucius Antonius, that object of the extraordinary detestation of all men, and (if the gods hate those whom they ought) of all the gods also, murdered with every circumstance of cruelty. My mind shudders at the recollection, O conscript fathers, and shrinks from relating the cruelties which Lucius Antonius perpetrated on the children and wives of the citizens of Parma. For whatever infamy the Antonii have willingly undergone in their own persons to their own infamy, they triumph in the fact of having inflicted on others by violence. But it is a miserable violence which they offered to them; most unholy lust, such as the whole life of the Antonii is polluted with.
IV. Is there then any one who is afraid to call those men enemies, whose wickedness he admits to have surpassed even the inhumanity of the Carthaginians? For in what city, when taken by storm, did Hannibal even behave with such ferocity as Antonius did in Parma, which he filched by surprise? Unless, mayhap, Antonius is not to be considered the enemy of this colony, and of the others towards which he is animated with the same feelings. But if he is beyond all question the enemy of the colonies and municipal towns, then what do you consider him with respect to this city which he is so eager for, to satiate the indigence of his band of robbers? which that skilful and experienced surveyor of his, Saxa, has already marked out with his rule. Recollect, I entreat you, in the name of the immortal gods, O conscript fathers, what we have been fearing for the last two days, in consequence of infamous rumours carefully disseminated by enemies within the walls. Who has been able to look upon his children or upon his wife without weeping? who has been able to bear the sight of his home, of his house, and his household gods? Already all of us were expecting a most ignominious death, or meditating a miserable flight. And shall we hesitate to call the men at whose hands we feared all these things enemies? If any one should propose a more severe designation I will willingly agree to it; I am hardly content with this ordinary one, and will certainly not employ a more moderate one.
Therefore, as we are bound to vote, and as Servilius has already proposed a most just supplication for those letters which have been read to you; I will propose altogether to increase the number of the days which it is to last, especially as it is to be decreed in honour of three generals conjointly But first of all I will insist on styling those men imperator by whose valour, and wisdom, and good fortune we have been released from the most imminent danger of slavery and death. Indeed, who is there within the last twenty years who has had a supplication decreed to him without being himself styled imperator, though he may have performed the most insignificant exploits, or even almost none at all. Wherefore, the senator who spoke before me ought either not to have moved for a supplication at all, or he ought to have paid the usual and established compliment to those men to whom even new and extraordinary honours are justly due.
V. Shall the senate, according to this custom which has now obtained, style a man imperator if he has slain a thousand or two of Spaniards, or Gauls, or Thracians; and now that so many legions have been routed, now that such a multitude of enemies has been slain,—aye, enemies, I say, although our enemies within the city do not fancy this expression,—shall we pay to our most illustrious generals the honour of a supplication, and refuse them the name of imperator? For with what great honour, and joy, and exultation ought the deliverers of this city themselves to enter into this temple, when yesterday, on account of the exploits which they have performed, the Roman people carried me in an ovation, almost in a triumph from my house to the Capitol, and back again from the Capitol to my own house? That is indeed in my opinion a just and genuine triumph, when men who have deserved well of the republic receive public testimony to their merits from the unanimous consent of the senate. For if, at a time of general rejoicing on the part of the Roman people, they addressed their congratulations to one individual, that is a great proof of their opinion of him; if they gave him thanks, that is a greater still; if they did both, then nothing more honourable to him can be possibly imagined.
Are you saying all this of yourself? some one will ask. It is indeed against my will that I do so; but my indignation at injustice makes me boastful, contrary to my usual habit. Is it not sufficient that thanks should not be given to men who have well earned them, by men who are ignorant of the very nature of virtue? And shall accusations and odium be attempted to be excited against those men who devote all their thoughts to ensuring the safety of the republic? For you well know that there has been a common report for the last few days, that the day before the wine feast,1 that is to say, on this very day, I was intending to come forth with the fasces as dictator. One would think that this story was invented against some gladiator, or robber, or Catiline, and not against a man who had prevented any such step from ever being taken in the republic. Was I, who defeated and overthrew and crushed Catiline, when he was attempting such wickedness, a likely man myself all on a sudden to turn out Catiline? Under what auspices could I, an augur, take those fasces? How long should I have been likely to keep them? to whom was I to deliver them as my successor? The idea of any one having been so wicked as to invent such a tale! or so mad as to believe it! In what could such a suspicion, or rather such gossip, have originated?
VI. When, as you know, during the last three or four days a report of bad news from Mutina has been creeping abroad, the disloyal part of the citizens, inflated with exultation and insolence, began to collect in one place, at that senate-house which has been more fatal to their party than to the republic. There, while they were forming a plan to massacre us, and were distributing the different duties among one another, and settling who was to seize on the Capitol, who on the rostra, who on the gates of the city, they thought that all the citizens would flock to me. And in order to bring me into unpopularity, and even into danger of my life, they spread abroad this report about the fasces. They themselves had some idea of bringing the fasces to my house; and then, on pretence of that having been done by my wish, they had prepared a band of hired ruffians to make an attack on me as on a tyrant, and a massacre of all of you was intended to follow. The fact is already notorious, O conscript fathers, but the origin of all this wickedness will be revealed in its fitting time.
Therefore Publius Apuleius, a tribune of the people, who ever since my consulship has been the witness and partaker of, and my assistant in all my designs and all my dangers could not endure the grief of witnessing my indignation. He convened a numerous assembly, as the whole Roman people were animated with one feeling on the subject. And when in the harangue which he then made, he, as was natural from our great intimacy and friendship, was going to exculpate me from all suspicion in the matter of the fasces, the whole assembly cried out with one voice, that I had never had any intentions with regard to the republic which were not excellent. After this assembly was over, within two or three hours, these most welcome messengers and letters arrived; so that the same day not only delivered me from a most unjust odium, but increased my credit by that most extraordinary act with which the Roman people distinguished me.
I have made this digression, O conscript fathers, not so much for the sake of speaking of myself, (for I should be in a sorry plight if I were not sufficiently acquitted in your eyes without the necessity of making a formal defence,) as with the view of warning some men of too grovelling and narrow minds, to adopt the line of conduct which I myself have always pursued, and to think the virtue of excellent citizens worthy of imitation, not of envy. There is a great field in the republic, as Crassus used very wisely to say; the road to glory is open to many.
VII. Would that those great men were still alive, who, after my consulship, when I myself was willing to yield to them, were themselves desirous to see me in the post of leader. But at the present moment, when there is such a dearth of wise and fearless men of consular rank, how great do you not suppose must be my grief and indignation, when I see some men absolutely disaffected to the republic, others wholly indifferent to everything, others incapable of persevering with any firmness in the cause which they have espoused; and regulating their opinions not always by the advantage of the republic, but sometimes by hope, and sometimes by fear. But if any one is anxious and inclined to struggle for the leadership—though struggle there ought to be none—he acts very foolishly, if he proposes to combat virtue with vices. For as speed is only outstripped by speed, so among brave men virtue is only surpassed by virtue. Will you, if I am full of excellent sentiments with respect to the republic, adopt the worst possible sentiments yourself for the purpose of excelling me? Or if you see a race taking place for the acquisition of honours, will you summon all the wicked men you can find to your banner? I should be sorry for you to do so; first of all, for the sake of the republic, and secondly, for that of your own dignity. But if the leadership of the state were at stake, which I have never coveted, what could be more desirable for me than such conduct on your part? For it is impossible that I should be defeated by wicked sentiments and measures,—by good ones perhaps I might be, and I willingly would be.
Some people are vexed that the Roman people should see, and take notice of, and form their opinion on these matters. Was it possible for men not to form their opinion of each individual as he deserved? For as the Roman people forms a most correct judgment of the entire senate, thinking that at no period in the history of the republic was this order ever more firm or more courageous; so also they all inquire diligently concerning every individual among us; and especially in the case of those among us who deliver our sentiments at length in this place, they are anxious to know what those sentiments are; and in that way they judge of each one of us, as they think that he deserves. They recollect that on the nineteenth of December I was the main cause of recovering our freedom; that from the first of January to this hour I have never ceased watching over the republic; that day and night my house and my ears have been open to the instruction and admonition of every one; that it has been by my letters, and my messengers, and my exhortations, that all men in every part of the empire have been roused to the protection of our country; that it is owing to the open declaration of my opinion ever since the first of January, that no ambassadors have been ever sent to Antonius; that I have always called him a public enemy, and this a war; so that I, who on every occasion have been the adviser of genuine peace, have been a determined enemy to this pretence of fatal peace.
Have not I also at all times pronounced Ventidius an enemy, when others wished to call him a tribune of the people? If the consuls had chosen to divide the senate on my opinion, their arms would long since have been wrested from the hands of all those robbers by the positive authority of the senate.
VIII. But what could not be done then, O conscript fathers, at present not only can be, but even must be done. I mean, those men who are in reality enemies must be branded in plain language, must be declared enemies by our formal resolution. Formerly, when I used the words War or Enemy, men more than once objected to record my proposition among the other propositions. But that cannot be done on the present occasion. For in consequence of the letters of Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls, and of Caius Cæsar, proprætor, we have all voted that honours be paid to the immortal gods. The very man who lately proposed and carried a vote for a supplication, without intending it pronounced those men enemies; for a supplication has never been decreed for success in civil war. Decreed, do I say? It has never even been asked for in the letters of the conqueror. Sylla as consul carried on a civil war; he led his legions into the city and expelled whomsoever he chose; he slew those whom he had in his power: there was no mention made of any supplication. The violent war with Octavius followed. Cinna the conqueror had no supplication voted to him. Sylla as imperator revenged the victory of Cinna, still no supplication was decreed by the senate. I ask you yourself, O Publius Servilius, did your colleague send you any letters concerning that most lamentable battle of Pharsalia? Did he wish you to make any motion about a supplication? Certainly not. But he did afterwards when he took Alexandria; when he defeated Pharnaces; but for the battle of Pharsalia he did not even celebrate a triumph. For that battle had destroyed those citizens whose, I will not say lives, but even whose victory might have been quite compatible with the safety and prosperity of the state. And the same thing had happened in the previous civil wars. For though a supplication was decreed in my honour when I was consul, though no arms had been had recourse to at all, still that was voted by a new and wholly unprecedented kind of decree, not for the slaughter of enemies, but for the preservation of the citizens. Wherefore, a supplication on account of the affairs of the republic having been successfully conducted must, O conscript fathers, be refused by you even though your generals demand it; a stigma which has never been affixed on any one except Gabinius; or else, by the mere fact of decreeing a supplication, it is quite inevitable that you must pronounce those men, for whose defeat you do decree it, enemies of the state.
IX. What then Servilius did in effect, I do in express terms, when I style those men imperators. By using this name, I pronounce those who have been already defeated, and those who still remain, enemies in calling their conquerors imperators. For what title can I more suitably bestow on Pansa? Though he has, indeed, the title of the highest honour in the republic. What, too, shall I call Hirtius? He, indeed, is consul; but this latter title is indicative of the kindness of the Roman people; the other of valour and victory. What? Shall I hesitate to call Cæsar imperator, a man born for the republic by the express kindness of the gods? He who was the first man who turned aside the savage and disgraceful cruelty of Antonius, not only from our throats, but from our limbs and bowels? What numerous and what important virtues, O ye immortal gods, were displayed on that single day. For Pansa was the leader of all in engaging in battle and in combating with Antonius; O general worthy of the martial legion, legion worthy of its general! Indeed, if he had been able to restrain its irresistible impetuosity, the whole war would have been terminated by that one battle. But as the legion, eager for liberty, had rushed with too much precipitation against the enemy’s line of battle, and as Pansa himself was fighting in the front ranks, he received two dangerous wounds, and was borne out of the battle, to preserve his life for the republic. But I pronounce him not only imperator, but a most illustrious imperator; who, as he had pledged himself to discharge his duty to the republic either by death or by victory, has fulfilled one half of his promise; may the immortal gods prevent the fulfilment of the other half!
X. Why need I speak of Hirtius? who, the moment he heard of what was going on, with incredible promptness and courage led forth two legions out of the camp; that noble fourth legion, which, having deserted Antonius, formerly united itself to the martial legion; and the seventh, which, consisting wholly of veterans, gave proof in that battle that the name of the senate and people of Rome was dear to those soldiers who preserved the recollection of the kindness of Cæsar. With these twenty cohorts, with no cavalry, while Hirtius himself was bearing the eagle of the fourth legion,—and we never heard of a more noble office being assumed by any general,—he fought with the three legions of Antonius and with his cavalry, and overthrew, and routed, and put to the sword those impious men who were the real enemies to this temple of the all-good and all-powerful Jupiter, and to the rest of the temples of the immortal gods, and the houses of the city, and the freedom of the Roman people, and our lives and actual existence; so that that chief and leader of robbers fled away with a very few followers, concealed by the darkness of night, and frightened out of all his senses.
Oh what a most blessed day was that, which, while the carcases of those parricidal traitors were strewed about everywhere, beheld Antonius flying with a few followers, before he reached his place of concealment.
But will any one hesitate to call Cæsar imperator? Most certainly his age will not deter any one from agreeing to this proposition, since he has gone beyond his age in virtue. And to me, indeed, the services of Caius Cæsar have always appeared the more thankworthy, in proportion as they were less to have been expected from a man of his age. For when we conferred military command on him, we were in fact encouraging the hope with which his name inspired us; and now that he has fulfilled those hopes, he has sanctioned the authority of our decree by his exploits. This young man of great mind, as Hirtius most truly calls him in his letters, with a few cohorts defended the camp of many legions, and fought a successful battle. And in this manner the republic has on one day been preserved in many places by the valour, and wisdom, and good fortune of three imperators of the Roman people.
XI. I therefore propose supplications of fifty days in the joint names of the three. The reasons I will embrace in the words of the resolution, using the most honourable language that I can devise.
But it becomes our good faith and our piety to show plainly to our most gallant soldiers how mindful of their services and how grateful for them we are; and accordingly I give my vote that our promises, and those pledges too which we promised to bestow on the legions when the war was finished, be repeated in the resolution which we are going to pass this day. For it is quite fair that the honour of the soldiers, especially of such soldiers as those, should be united with that of their commanders. And I wish, O conscript fathers, that it was lawful for us to dispense rewards to all the citizens; although we will give those which we have promised with the most careful usury. But that remains, as I well hope, to the conquerors, to whom the faith of the senate is pledged; and, as they have adhered to it at a most critical period of the republic, we are bound to take care that they never have cause to repent of their conduct. But it is easy for us to deal fairly by those men whose very services, though mute, appear to demand our liberality. This is a much more praiseworthy and more important duty, to pay a proper tribute of grateful recollection to the valour of those men who have shed their blood in the cause of their country. And I wish more suggestions could occur to me in the way of doing honour to those men. The two ideas which principally do occur to me, I will at all events not pass over; the one of which has reference to the everlasting glory of those bravest of men; the other may tend to mitigate the sorrow and mourning of their relations.
XII. I therefore give my vote, O conscript fathers, that the most honourable monument possible be erected to the soldiers of the martial legion, and to those soldiers also who died fighting by their side. Great and incredible are the services done by this legion to the republic. This was the first legion to tear itself from the piratical band of Antonius; this was the legion which encamped at Alba; this was the legion that went over to Cæsar; and it was in imitation of the conduct of this legion that the fourth legion has earned almost equal glory for its virtue. The fourth is victorious without having lost a man; some of the martial legion fell in the very moment of victory. Oh happy death, which, due to nature, has been paid in the cause of one’s country! But I consider you men born for your country; you whose very name is derived from Mars, so that the same god who begot this city for the advantage of the nations, appears to have begotten you for the advantage of this city. Death in flight is infamous; in victory glorious. In truth, Mars himself seems to select all the bravest men from the battle array. Those impious men whom you slew, shall even in the shades below pay the penalty of their parricidal treason. But you, who have poured forth your latest breath in victory, have earned an abode and place among the pious. A brief life has been allotted to us by nature; but the memory of a well-spent life is imperishable. And if that memory were no longer than this life, who would be so senseless as to strive to attain even the highest praise and glory by the most enormous labours and dangers?
You then have fared most admirably, being the bravest of soldiers while you lived, and now the most holy of warriors, because it will be impossible for your virtue to be buried, either through the forgetfulness of the men of the present age, or the silence of posterity, since the senate and Roman people will have raised to you an imperishable monument, I may almost say with their own hands. Many armies at various times have been great and illustrious in the Punic, and Gallic, and Italian wars; but to none of them have honours been paid of the description which are now conferred on you. And I wish that we could pay you even greater honours, since we have received from you the greatest possible services. You it was who turned aside the furious Antonius from this city; you it was who repelled him when endeavouring to return. There shall therefore be a vast monument erected with the most sumptuous work, and an inscription engraved upon it, as the everlasting witness of your god-like virtue. And never shall the most grateful language of all who either see or hear of your monument cease to be heard. And in this manner you, in exchange for your mortal condition of life, have attained immortality.
XIII. But since, O conscript fathers, the gift of glory is conferred on these most excellent and gallant citizens by the honour of a monument, let us comfort their relations, to whom this indeed is the best consolation. The greatest comfort for their parents is the reflection that they have produced sons who have been such bulwarks of the republic; for their children, that they will have such examples of virtue in their family; for their wives, that the husbands whom they have lost are men whom it is a credit to praise, and to have a right to mourn for; and for their brothers, that they may trust that, as they resemble them in their persons, so they do also in their virtues.
Would that we were able by the expression of our sentiments and by our votes to wipe away the tears of all these persons; or that any such oration as this could be publicly addressed to them, to cause them to lay aside their grief and mourning, and to rejoice rather, that, while many various kinds of death impend over men, the most honourable kind of all has fallen to the lot of their friends; and that they are not unburied, nor deserted; though even that fate, when incurred for one’s country, is not accounted miserable; nor burnt with equable obsequies in scattered graves, but entombed in honourable sepulchres, and honoured with public offerings; and with a building which will be an altar of their valour to ensure the recollection of eternal ages.
Wherefore it will be the greatest possible comfort to their relations, that by the same monument are clearly displayed the valour of their kinsmen, and also their piety, and the good faith of the senate, and the memory of this most inhuman war, in which, if the valour of the soldiers had been less conspicuous, the very name of the Roman people would have perished by the parricidal treason of Marcus Antonius. And I think also, O conscript fathers, that those rewards which we promised to bestow on the soldiers when we had recovered the republic, we should give with abundant usury to those who are alive and victorious when the time comes; and that in the case of the men to whom those rewards were promised, but who have died in the defence of their country, I think those same rewards should be given to their parents or children, or wives or brothers.
XIV. But that I may reduce my sentiments into a formal motion, I give my vote that
“As Caius Pansa, consul, imperator, set the example of fighting with the enemy in a battle in which the martial legion defended the freedom of the Roman people with admirable and incredible valour, and the legions of the recruits behaved equally well; and as Caius Pansa, consul, imperator, while engaged in the middle of the ranks of the enemy received wounds; and as Aulus Hirtius, consul, imperator, the moment that he heard of the battle, and knew what was going on, with a most gallant and loyal soul, led his army out of his camp and attacked Marcus Antonius and his army, and put his troops to the sword, with so little injury to his own army that he did not lose one single man; and as Caius Cæsar, proprætor, imperator, with great prudence and energy defended the camp successfully, and routed and put to the sword the forces of the enemy which had come near the camp:
“On these accounts the senate thinks and declares that the Roman people has been released from the most disgraceful and cruel slavery by the valour, and military skill, and prudence, and firmness, and perseverance, and greatness of mind and good fortune of these their generals. And decrees that, as they have preserved the republic, the city, the temples of the immortal gods, the property and fortunes and families of all the citizens, by their own exertions in battle, and at the risk of their own lives; on account of these virtuous and gallant and successful achievements, Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls, imperators, one or both of them, or, in their absence, Marcus Cornutus, the city prætor, shall appoint a supplication at all the altars for fifty days. And as the valour of the legions has shown itself worthy of their most illustrious generals, the senate will with great eagerness, now that the republic is recovered, bestow on our legions and armies all the rewards which it formerly promised them. And as the martial legion was the first to engage with the enemy, and fought in such a manner against superior numbers as to slay many and take some prisoners; and as they shed their blood for their country without any shrinking; and as the soldiers of the other legions encountered death with similar valour in defence of the safety and freedom of the Roman people;—the senate does decree that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls, imperators, one or both of them if it seems good to them, shall see to the issuing of a contract for, and to the erecting, the most honourable possible monument to those men who shed their blood for the lives and liberties and fortunes of the Roman people, and for the city and temples of the immortal gods; that for that purpose they shall order the city quæstors to furnish and pay money, in order that it may be a witness for the everlasting recollection of posterity of the wickedness of our most cruel enemies, and the god-like valour of our soldiers. And that the rewards which the senate previously appointed for the soldiers, be paid to the parents or children, or wives or brothers of those men who in this war have fallen in defence of their country; and that all honours be bestowed on them which should have been bestowed on the soldiers themselves if those men had lived who gained the victory by their death.”
THE TWO BOOKS WHICH REMAIN OF THE TREATISE BY M. T. CICERO ON RHETORICAL INVENTION.
[1 ]There were two wine feasts, Vinalia, at Rome: the vinalia urbano, celebrated on the twenty-third of April; and the vinalia rustica, on the nineteenth of October. This was the urbana vinalia; on which occasion the wine casks which had been filled in the autumn were tasted for the first time.