Listen now to the decision of the senate, which has at all times been approved of by the decision of the people. Our ancestors, O judges, ordained that the sacred rites of Ceres should be performed with the very strictest religious reverence and the greatest solemnity; which, as they had been originally derived from the Greeks, had always been conducted by Greek priestesses, and were called Greek rites. But when they were selecting a priestess from Greece to teach us that Greek sacred ceremony, and to perform it, still they thought it right that it should be a citizen who was sacrificing for citizens, in order that she might pray to the immortal gods with knowledge, indeed, derived from a distant and foreign source but with feelings belonging to one of our own people and citizens. I see that these priestesses were for the most part Neapolitans or Velians, and those are notoriously federate cities. I am not speaking of any ancient cases, I am only mentioning things that have happened lately, as, for instance, that before the freedom of the city was conferred on the Velians, Caius Valerius Flaccus being the city praetor, did, in accordance with a resolution passed by the senate, submit a motion to the people concerning a woman of Velia, called Calliphana, mentioning her expressly by name, for the purpose of making her a Roman citizen. Are we then to suppose that the Velians ratified the law which was then passed about her; or that that priestess was not made a Roman citizen; or that the treaty was violated by the senate and people of Rome?
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO IN DEFENCE OF LUCIUS CORNELIUS BALBUS.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.