15.  Are you then hesitating, O judges, when all these nations have an innate hatred to and wage incessant war with the name of the Roman people? Do you think that, with their military cloaks and their breeches, they come to us in a lowly and submissive spirit, as these do, who having suffered injuries fly to us as suppliants and inferiors to beg the aid of the judges? Nothing is further from the truth. On the contrary, they are strolling in high spirits and with their heads up, all over the forum, uttering threatening expressions, and terrifying men with barbarous and ferocious language; which, in truth, I should not believe, O judges, if I had not repeatedly heard such things from the mouths of the accusers themselves in your presence,—when they warned you to take care, lest, by acquitting this man, you should excite some new Gallic war.  If, O judges, everything was wanting to Marcus Fonteius in this cause; if he appeared before the court, having passed a disgraceful youth and an infamous life, having been convicted by the evidence of virtuous men of having discharged his duties as a magistrate (in which his conduct has been under your own eye) and as a lieutenant, in a most scandalous manner, and being hated by all his acquaintances; if in his trial he were overwhelmed with the oral and documentary evidence of the Narbonnese colonists of the Roman people, of our most faithful allies the Massilians, and of all the citizens of Rome; still it would be your duty to take the greatest care, lest you should appear to be afraid of those men, and to be influenced by their threats and menaced terrors, who were so prostrate and subdued in the times of your fathers and forefathers, as to be contemptible.  But now, when no good man says a word against him, but all your citizens and allies extol him; when those men attack him who have repeatedly attacked this city and this empire; and when the enemies of Marcus Fonteius threaten you and the Roman people; when his friends and relations come to you as suppliants, will you hesitate to show not only to your own citizens, who are mainly influenced by glory and praise; but also to foreign tribes and nations, that you, in giving your votes, prefer sparing a citizen to yielding to an enemy?
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE FRAGMENTS WHICH REMAIN OF THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO ON BEHALF OF MARCUS FONTEIUS.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.