previous next


And if, in all that abuse of yours, you not only impute no disgraceful conduct to me, but even add more lustre on my credit, what can exist or be imagined more senseless than you? For by one piece of abuse you admit that my country was twice saved by me; once when I performed that action which every one avows ought to be remembered for ever if it be possible, you thought that I ought to be punished and put to death; a second time, when I bore in my own person your own violence and that of the numbers who through your agency were inflamed against all virtuous men, in order to avoid taking arms, and in that condition bringing into danger that state which I had saved when without arms.

Be it so then. [77] There was not in my case any punishment imposed for any offence. Still there was punishment imposed on me by a judicial decision. By what decision? Who ever examined me as a defendant under any law whatever? Who ever accused me? Who ever prosecuted me? Can then a man who is uncondemned be made to bear the punishment of a condemned man? Is this the act of a tribune of the people? Is this the act of a friend of the people? Although, when is it that a man can call himself a friend of the people, except when he has done something for the advantage of the people? Forsooth, has not this principle been handed down to us from our ancestors, that no Roman citizen can be deprived of his liberty, or of his status as a citizen, unless he himself consents to such a thing, as you yourself might learn in your own case? For, although in that adoption of yours nothing was done in a legal manner, still I suppose that you were asked, whether it was your object that Publius Fonteius should have the same power of life and death over you that be would have over an actual son. I ask, if you had either silenced it or had been silent, if, nevertheless, the thirty curies had passed a vote to this effect would that vote have had the force off law? Certainly not. Why? Because the law was established by our ancestors, who were not fictitiously and pretendedly attached to the people, but were so in truth and wisdom, in such a manner that no Roman citizen could be deprived of his liberty against his consent. [78] Moreover, if the decemvirs had given an unjust decision to the prejudice of any one's liberty, they established a law that any one who chose might on this subject alone, make a motion affecting a formal decision already pronounced. But no one will ever lose his status as a citizen against his will by any vote of the people.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Latin (Albert Clark, 1909)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: