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25. [59]

“But he had no right to lay hands on that money.” Had his father Flaccus a right to touch it or not? If he had a right, as he undoubtedly had, to take money which had been contributed for the purposes of his honours, then the son did right in taking away the money belonging to his father from those men from whom he on his own account took nothing; but if the father Flaccus had not a right to take it, still after his death, not only his son, but any heir, must have had a perfect right to take it. And at that time, indeed, the Trallians, as they themselves had been for many years putting out that money at high interest nevertheless obtained from Flaccus all that they desired; nor were they so shameless as to venture to say what Laelius said,—namely, that Mithridates had taken this money from them. For who was there who did not know that Mithridates was more anxious about adorning Tralles than plundering it? [60] And if I were to speak of these matters as they ought to be spoken of, I should, O judges, press more strongly than I have as yet done, the point of how much credit it was reasonable for you to give Asiatic witnesses. I should recall your recollections to the time of the Mithridatic war, to that miserable and inhuman massacre of all the Roman citizens, in so many cities, at one and the same moment. I should remind you of our praetors who were surrendered, of our ambassadors who were thrown into prison, of almost all memory of the Roman name and every trace of its empire effaced, not only from the habitations of the Greeks, but even from their writings. They called Mithridates a god, they called him their father and the preserver of Asia, they called him Evius, Nysius, Bacchus, Liber. [61] It was the same time, when all Asia shut its gates against Lucius Flaccus, the consul, and not only received that Cappadocian into their cities, but even spontaneously invited him. Let us be allowed, if not to forget these things, at least to be silent respecting them. Let me be allowed rather to complain of the inconstancy of the Greeks than of their cruelty. Are these two men to have influence with a people which they wished utterly to destroy? For whomsoever they could they slew while in the garb of peace; as far as depended on them they annihilated the name of Roman citizens.

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