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29. [82]

And since I have now stated my objection plainly enough, I will follow you where you invite me. I ask of you, Was I driven away? not from the farm of Fulcinius, for the praetor has not commanded me to be replaced only in the case of my having been driven away from that particular farm, but he has ordered me to be replaced in the place from which I was driven away. I was driven away from the adjoining farm belonging to my neighbours, across which I was going to that farm; I was driven away from the road; I was certainly driven away from some place or other, from some ground, either private or public. I am ordered to be replaced there. You have said that you have replaced me; I say that I have not been replaced in compliance with the terms of the praetor's decree. What do we say to this! Your defence must be destroyed either by your own sword (all men say) or by mine. [83] If you take refuge in the intention of the interdict, and say that inquiry must be made into what farm was meant when Aebutius was ordered to replace me, and if you think it not right for the justice of the case to be caught in a trap made of words, then you come into my camp, you are fighting under my standard. That is my defence; mine. I assert this loudly; I call all the gods and men to witness, that, as our ancestors would allow no legal defence to be pleaded for armed violence, the question before the court is not, where were the footsteps of the man who was driven away, but what was the act of the man who drove him away; I say loudly, that the man who was put to flight was driven away, that violence was offered to the man who was put in danger of his life. [84] That topic you avoid and dread; and you try to call me back from the wide field, if I may so say, of justice, to these narrow passes of words, and to all the corners of letters. You shall yourself be hemmed in and caught in those very toils which you try to oppose to me. “I did not drive him away; I drove him off.” This seems to you a very clever idea. This is the edge of your defence. On that edge your own cause must inevitably fall. For I reply to you in this way:—If I was not driven away from the place which I was prevented from approaching, at all events I was driven away from the place which I did approach, and from which I fled. If the praetor did not clearly define the place in which he ordered me to be replaced, and merely ordered me to be replaced, I have not been replaced according to his decree. [85] I wish, O judges, if all this appears to you to be a more cunning system of defence than I usually adopt, that you would consider, first of all, that another originally devised it, and not I; in the next place, that not only I was not the originator of the system, but that I do not even approve of it, and that I did not bring it forward for the purposes of my own defence, but that I used it as a reply to their defence; that I can speak in behalf of my own rights, and that in this matter which I have brought forward, what ought to be inquired into is not, in what terms the praetor framed his interdict, but what was the place intended when he framed it, and that in a case of violence offered by armed: men, the thing to he inquired into is not, where the violence was offered, but whether it was offered or not; and that you cannot possibly urge in your defence, that where you wish it to be done, the words of the interdict ought to be regarded but that where you do not wish it, they ought not to be considered.


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