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38.

There are certain men who are planning many other things, and who are labouring most especially to cause your inclinations, your formal decisions and sentences to appear in a most unfavourable and odious light to all the most respectable citizen. You have given many important decisions in a manner suited to the dignity of the republic and particularly you have given many respecting the guilt of the conspirators. They do not think that the republic has been turned upside down enough unless they can overwhelm citizens who have deserved well of the republic with the same punishment as that with which this impious man Caius Antonius has been crushed. [95] Be it so. He had some particular misdeeds of his own to bear up against. And yet even he (I say this on my own responsibility) would never have been condemned if you had been his judges, he, a man by whose condemnation the tomb of Catiline was decked with flowers and the sepulchres of all those most audacious men and domestic enemies were honoured with assemblies and banquets, and by which the shade of Catiline was appeased. Now an expiation for the death of Lentulus is sought to be obtained at Flaccus's expense, and by your instrumentality. What victim can you offer more acceptable to the manes of Publius Lentulus,—who intended, after you had been all murdered amid the embraces of your children and your wives, to bury you beneath the burning ruins of your country,—than you will offer, if you satiate his impious hatred towards all of us in the blood of Lucius Flaccus? [96] Let us then offer a sacrifice to Lentulus, let us make atonement to Cethegus, let us recall the exiles, let us in our turn, if you, O judges, think fit, suffer the punishment due to too great piety, and to the greatest possible affection towards our country. At this moment we are being mentioned by name by the informers; accusations are being invented against us; dangers are being prepared for us. And if they did these things by the instrumentality of others,—if, in short, by using the name of the people, they had excited a mob of ignorant citizens, we could bear it with more equanimity.

But this can never be borne, that they should think that, by means of senators and knights of Rome, who have done all these things with a view to the safety of all the citizens, by their common decision, animated with one idea, and inspired with one and the same virtue, the prime movers, and leaders, and chief actors in these transactions, can be deprived of all their fortunes, and be expelled from the city. In truth, they are acquainted with the feelings and inclinations of the Roman people; by every means which it is master of, the Roman people indicates what are its opinions and feelings; there is no diversity of opinion, or of inclination, or of language. [97] Wherefore, if any one summons me, I come. I not only do not object to the Roman people as arbitrators in my cause, but I even demand them. Let there be no violence; let weapons and stones be kept at a distance let the artisans depart; let the slaves be silent. No one who hears me will be so unjust, if he be only a free man and a citizen, as not to think that he ought rather to think of rewards for me than of punishment.


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