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37. [98]

To encounter voluntarily such great grief of mind, and by oneself to endure, while the city is standing, those things which, when a city is taken, befall the conquered citizens; to see oneself torn from the embrace of one's friends, one's houses destroyed, one's property plundered; above all for the sake of one's country, to lose one's country itself to be stripped of the most honourable favours of the Roman people, to be precipitated from the highest rank of dignity, to see one's enemies in their robes of office demanding to conduct one's funeral before one's death has been properly mourned;—to undergo all these troubles for the sake of saving one's fellow-citizens, and this with such feelings that you are miserable while absent, not being as wise as those philosophers who care for nothing, but being as attached to one's relations and to oneself as the common feelings and rights of men require,—that is illustrious and godlike glory. For he who with a calm spirit for the sake of the republic abandons those things which he has never considered dear or delightful is not showing any remarkable good will towards the republic but he who abandons those things for the sake of the republic from which he is not torn without the greatest agony, his country is dear to that man and he prefers her safety to his affection for his own relations. [99] Wherefore that fury may burst itself; and it must hear me say these things since it has provoked me—I have twice saved the republic both when as consul in the garb of peace I subdued armed enemies, and when as a private individual I yielded to the consuls in arms. Of each piece of conduct I have reaped the greatest reward—I reaped the reward of my first achievement when I saw the senate and all virtuous men, in pursuance of a resolution of the senate, change their garments for the sake of my safety; and that of my subsequent conduct, when the senate, and the Roman people, and all men, whether in a public or a private capacity, decided that without my return the republic would not be safe. [100]

But this return of mine, O priests, depends now on your decision. For if you place me in my house, then I do plainly see and feel that I am restored, which is what all through my cause you have been always labouring to effect by your displays of zeal, by your counsels, and influence, and resolutions; but if, my house is not only not restored to me, but is even allowed to continue to furnish my enemy with a memorial of my distress, of his own wicked triumph, of the public calamity, who is there who will consider this a restoration, and not rather an eternal punishment? Moreover, my house, O priests, is in the sight of the whole city; and if there remains in it that (I will not call it monument of the city, but that) tomb inscribed with the name of my enemy, I had better migrate to some other spot, rather than dwell in that city in which I am to see trophies erected as tokens of victory over me and over the republic.

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