17. The sacred laws,—the laws of the Twelve Tables, forbid bills to be brought in affecting individuals only; for such a bill is a privilegium. No one has ever carried such a bill. There is nothing more cruel, nothing more mischievous, nothing which this city can less tolerate. What was it in that miserable proscription, and all the other miseries of Sulla's time, which was the most remarkable thing which will prevent the cruelties then practised from being ever forgotten? I imagine it was the fact that punishments were at that time proclaimed on Roman citizens by name without any trial.  Will you, then, O priests, by this decision, and by your authority, give a tribune of the people power to proscribe whomsoever he chooses? For I ask what else proscribing is, excepting proposing such a law as this, “That you will decide and order that Marcus Tullius shall no longer be in the city, and that his property may become mine?” For this is the effect of what he carried, though the language is somewhat different. Is this a resolution of the people? Is this a law? Is this a motion? Can you endure this? Can the city endure that a single citizen should be removed out of the city by a single line? I, indeed, have now endured my share. I have no more violence to fear. I am in dread of no further attacks. I have satisfied the hostility of those who envied me; I have appeased the hatred of wicked men; I have satiated even the treachery and wickedness of traitors; and, what is more, by this time every city, all ranks of men, all gods and men have expressed their opinion on my case, which appeared to those profligate men to be exposed above all others as a mark for unpopularity.  You now, O priests, are bound; as becomes your authority and your wisdom, to have regard in your decision to your own interests, and to those of your children, and to the welfare of the rest of the citizens. For as the forms of proceeding before the people have been appointed by our ancestors to be so moderate,—so that in the first place no punishment affecting a man's status as a citizen can be joined to any pecuniary fine in the next place, that no one can be accused except on a day previously appointed; again, that the prosecutor must accuse him before the magistrate three times, a day being allowed to intervene between each hearing, before the magistrate can inflict any fine or give any decision; and when there is a fourth hearing for the accusation appointed after seventeen1 days, on a day appointed on which the judge shall give his decision; and when many other concessions have been granted to the defendants to give them an opportunity of appeasing the prosecutor, or of exciting pity; and besides this the people is a people inclined to listen to entreaties, and very apt to give their votes for a defendant's safety; and, beyond all this, if anything prevents the cause from being proceeded with on that day, either because of the auspices, or on any other plea or excuse, then there is an end to the whole cause and to the whole business.
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO FOR HIS HOUSE. ADDRESSED TO THE PRIESTS
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
1 The Latin is “trinum nundinum prodicta die”. “Nundina, the ninth day inclusive; this was the Roman market day; because every ninth day the country people came to Rome to transact business......three such nundinae formed a trinum nundinum, or trinundinum, i.e. a space of seventeen days. Every bill was posted up during three nundinae, that all persons might read it.”—Riddle, Lat. Dict. in v. Nundinus.
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