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47. [136]

They who know me, know that I, to the extent of my small and insignificant power, (when that which I was most eager for could not be brought about, I mean an accommodation between the parties) laboured to ensure the victory of that party which got it. For who was there who did not see that meanness was disputing with dignity for the highest honours? a contest in which it was the part of an abandoned citizen not to unite himself to those, by whose safety dignity at home and authority abroad would be preserved. And that all this was done, and that his proper honour and rank was restored to every one, I rejoice, O judges, and am exceedingly delighted; and I know that it was all done by the kindness of the gods, by the zeal of the Roman people, by the wisdom and government, and good fortune 1 of Lucius Sulla. [137] I have no business to find fault with punishment having been inflicted on those who laboured with all their energies on the other side; and I approve of honours having been paid to the brave men whose assistance was eminent in the transaction of all these matters. And I consider that the struggle was to a great extent with this object, and I confess that I shared in that desire in the part I took. But if the object was, and if arms were taken with the view of causing the lowest of the people to be enriched with the property of others, and of enabling them to make attacks on the fortunes of every one, and if it is unlawful not only to hinder that by deed, but even to blame it in words, then the Roman people seems to me not to have been strengthened and restored by that war, but to have been subdued and crushed. [138] But the ease is totally different: nothing of this, O judges, is the truth: the cause of the nobility will not only not be injured if you resist these men, but it will even be embellished.


1 Cicero dwells on the felicitas of Sulla, because Felix was the name which Sulla himself assumed, priding himself especially on his good fortune.

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