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21. [51]

But since my speech appears at last to have raised itself out of the shallows, and to have passed by the rocks, the rest of my course is made plain and easy to me. For there are two charges, both relating to one woman,—both imputing enormous wickedness; one respecting the gold which is said to have been received from Clodia, the other respecting the poison which the prosecutors accuse Caelius of having prepared with the view of assassinating Clodia. He took gold, as you say, to give to the slaves of Lucius Lucceius, by whom Dio of Alexandria was slain, who at that time was living in Lucceius's house. It is a great crime to intrigue against ambassadors, or to tamper with slaves to induce them to murder their master's guest; it is a design full of wickedness, full of audacity. [52] But with respect to that charge, I will first of all ask this—whether he told Clodia for what purpose he was then taking the gold, or whether he did not tell her? If he did not tell her, why was it that she gave it? If he did tell her, then she has implicated herself as an accomplice in the same wickedness. Did you dare to take gold out of your strong-box? Did you dare to strip that statue of yours of Venus the Plunderer of men of her ornaments? But when you knew for what an enormous crime this gold was required,—for the murder of an ambassador,—for the staining of Lucius Lucceius, a most pious and upright man, with the blot of everlasting impiety—then your well-educated mind ought not to have been privy to so horrible an atrocity; your house, so open to all people, ought not to have been made an instrument in it. Above all, that most hospitable Venus of yours ought not to have been an assistant in it. [53]

Balbus saw that. He said that Clodia was kept in the dark, and that Caelius alleged to her as his reason for wanting the gold, that he wanted it for the ornamenting of his arms if he was as intimate with Clodia as you make him out when you say so much about his amorous propensities, he, no doubt, told her what he wanted the gold for. If he was not so intimate with her, then, no doubt, she never gave it. Therefore, if Caelius told you the truth, O you most ill-regulated woman, you knowingly gave gold to promote a crime; if he did not venture to tell you, you never gave it at all.


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