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Cicero urges the Senate to apply the laws equally in order to protect the reputation of Rome and to provide justice for the victims of a corrupt magistrate (1stC BC)

In a speech in favor of the impeachment of a corrupt magistrate, Caius Verres, Cicero urges the Senate to apply the laws equally in order to protect the reputation of Rome and to provide justice for his victims:

You, when you have been besieged by so illustrious a city on account of your own wickedness and crime—when you have compelled men, miserable and maddened by calamity, as if in despair of our laws and tribunals, to fly to violence, to combat, and to arms—when you have shown yourself in the towns and cities of our friends, not as a lieutenant of the Roman people, but as a lustful and inhuman tyrant—when among foreign nations you have injured the reputation of our dominion and our name by your infamy and your crimes—when you have with difficulty saved yourself from the sword of the friends of the Roman people, and escaped from the fire of its allies, do you think you will find an asylum here? You are mistaken—they allowed you to escape alive that you might fall into our power here, not that you might find rest here.

XXXII. Will you then spare this man, O judges? whose offences are so great that they whom he injured could neither wait for the legitimate time to take their revenge, nor restrain to a future time the violence of their indignation. You were besieged? By whom? By the citizens of Lampsacus—barbarous men, I suppose, or, at all events, men who despised the name of the Roman people. Say rather men, by nature, by custom, and by education most gentle; moreover, by condition, allies of the Roman people, by fortune our subjects, by inclination our suppliants—so that it is evident to all men, that unless the bitterness of the injury and the enormity of the wickedness had been such that the Lampsacenes thought it better to die than to endure it, they never would have advanced to such a pitch as to be more influenced by hatred of your lust—than by fear of your office as lieutenant. Do not, in the name of the immortal gods, I entreat you—do not compel the allies and foreign nations to have recourse to such a refuge as that; and they must of necessity have recourse to it, unless you chastise such crimes. Nothing would ever have softened the citizens of Lampsacus towards him, except their believing that he would be punished at Rome. Although they had sustained such an injury that they could not sufficiently avenge it by any law in the world, yet they would have preferred to submit their griefs to our laws and tribunals, rather than to give way to their own feelings of indignation. You, when you have been besieged by so illustrious a city on account of your own wickedness and crime—when you have compelled men, miserable and maddened by calamity, as if in despair of our laws and tribunals, to fly to violence, to combat, and to arms—when you have shown yourself in the towns and cities of our friends, not as a lieutenant of the Roman people, but as a lustful and inhuman tyrant—when among foreign nations you have injured the reputation of our dominion and our name by your infamy and your crimes—when you have with difficulty saved yourself from the sword of the friends of the Roman people, and escaped from the fire of its allies, do you think you will find an asylum here? You are mistaken—they allowed you to escape alive that you might fall into our power here, not that you might find rest here.

About this Quotation:

A key feature of the liberal order is the idea of the equality of all citizens before the law, i.e. that no individual or group is above the law, that all must submit to and be punished if they infringe upon the rights of others. Here we see Cicero, the great Roman orator and lawyer, listing the crimes of Caius Verres and stating that he is not immune from impeachment and conviction by the Roman Senate.

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