for what, O Caius Aquillius, can be mentioned or spoken of more unjust or more unworthy than this, that I who am defending the liberties, 1 the fame, and fortunes of another should be compelled to open the cause, especially when Quintus Hortensius, who in this trial fills the part of the accuser, is to speak against me; a man to whom nature has given the greatest possible fluency and energy in speaking? Matters are so managed, that I, who ought rather to ward off the darts of our adversary and to heal the wounds he has inflicted, am compelled to do so now, even when the adversary has cast no dart; and that that time is given to them to attack us when the power of avoiding their attacks is to be taken from us; and if in any particular they should (as they are well prepared to do) cast any false accusation like a poisoned arrow at us, there will be no opportunity for applying a remedy.
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The speech of M. T. Cicero as the advocate of P. Quinctius.
1 The Latin has caput, which in a legal sense expresses not only a man's life, but also his status or civil condition; to be registered in the census was caput habere; to change one's rank, capite, &c. diminuere. And so a trial which affected not only a citizen's life, but his rank or liberty, was called judicium capitale.
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