And Aebutius appears to me to have been most especially audacious in assembling and arming men, and most especially impudent in his legal measures. Not only in that he has dared to come before the court, (for that, although it is a scandalous thing to do in a clear case, still is an ordinary course for wicked and artful men to adopt,) but because he has not hesitated to avow the very act which he is accused of; unless, perhaps, his idea was this,—if ordinary 1 violence according to precedent had been used, he would not have had any superior right of possession; but as the violence was committed in a way contrary to all law and precedent, Aulus Caecina fled in alarm with his friends. And so in this count, if he defends his cause according to the custom and established principles of all men, he thinks that we shall not be his inferiors in managing our case; but if he departs from all usage, the more impudently he conducts himself, the more likely to succeed shall he be: as if dishonesty had as much influence in a court of justice as confidence in a scene of violence, or as if we had not yielded at that time the more willingly to his audacity, in order now with the greater ease to resist his impudence.
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THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO IN BEHALF OF AULUS CAECINA.
1 The usual course on claiming possession of disputed property was for the claimant to present himself with his friends in the land, and then to be driven off by the occupant. This violence was vis moribus facta. On this the claimant appealed to the praetor. But Aebutius had driven Caecina off with armed men, and had used unnecessary and actual violence. This was vis contra jus moremque.
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