27. But you, O Publius Lentulus, neither as a private individual nor as consul ever thought that it was a law. For when the tribunes of the people made a motion, you as consul elect often delivered your opinion concerning my affairs; and from the first of January to the time that the whole affair was completed, you persevered in making motions respecting me, you proposed a law, you passed it; none of which things could legally have been done by you if that thing of Clodius's had been a law. But Quintus Metellus your colleague, a most illustrious man, even though he was a brother of Clodius, when he joined you in making a motion in the senate respecting my affairs, expressed his opinion that that was no law at all which men utterly unconnected with Clodius,—namely Piso and Gabinius, considered was a law.  But how did those men who had such respect for Clodius's laws observe the rest of the laws? The senate indeed, whose authority is of the very greatest weight on all questions affecting the power of the laws, as often as it has been consulted in my case, has decided that that was no law at all. And you, O Lentulus, showed that you were aware of its not being one in that law which you carried concerning me. For that law was not framed in such terms as that I might be allowed to come to Rome, but that I should come to Rome. For you did not wish to propose to make that lawful for me to do, which was lawful already; but you wished me to be in the republic, appearing to have been sent for by the command of the Roman people, rather than to have been restored for the purpose of aiding in the management of the republic.  Did you then, O you most monstrous pest, dare to call that man an exile, when you yourself were branded with such wickedness and such crimes that you made every place which you approached very like a place of banishment? For what is an exile? The name itself is an indication of misfortune, not of disgrace. When, then, is it disgraceful? In reality when it is the punishment of guilt; but in the opinion of men, when it is the punishment of a condemned person. Is it then owing to any crime of mine that I hear the name of an exile, or owing to any judicial sentence? Owing to any crime? Even you, whom those satellites of yours call the prosperous Catiline, do not dare to affirm that, nor do any one of those men who used to say so, venture to say so now. There is not only no one so ignorant now as to say that those actions which I did in my consulship were errors; but no one is such an enemy to his country as not to confess that the country was preserved by my counsels.
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
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.
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.