1. Although I am afraid, O judges, that it is a base thing for one who is beginning to speak for a very brave man to be alarmed, and though it is far from becoming, when Titus Annius Milo himself is more disturbed for the safety of the republic than for his own, that I should not be able to bring to the cause a similar greatness of mind, yet this novel appearance of a new1 manner of trial alarms my eyes, which, wherever they fall, seek for the former customs of the forum and the ancient practice in trials. For your assembly is not surrounded by a circle of bystanders as usual; we are not attended by our usual company.2 [2]

For those guards which you behold in front of all the temples, although they are placed there as a protection against violence, yet they bring no aid to the orator, so that even in the forum and in the court of justice itself, although we are protected with all military and necessary defences, yet we cannot be entirely without fear. But if I thought this adverse to Milo, I should yield to the times, O judges, and among such a crowd of armed men, I should think there was no room for an orator. But the wisdom of Cnaeus Pompeius, a most wise and just man, strengthens and encourages me, who would certainly neither think it suitable to his justice to deliver that man up to the weapons of the soldiery whom he had given over as an accused person to the decision of the judges, nor suitable to his wisdom to arm the rashness of an excited multitude with public authority. [3]

So that those arms, those centurions, those cohorts, do not announce danger to us, but protection; nor do they expect us only to be calm, but even to be courageous, nor do they promise only assistance to my defence but also silence. And the rest of the multitude which consists of citizens is wholly ours; nor is there any one individual among those whom you see from this place gazing upon us from all sides from which any part of the forum can be seen and watching the result of this trial who, while he favours the virtue of Milo, does not think that this day in reality his own interests, those of his children, his country, and his fortunes, are at stake.

1 This was an extraordinary trial held under a new law just passed by Pompey; and it was presided over, not by the praetor, but by Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, who was expressly appointed by the comitia president of the judge on this occasion.

2 Pompey was present at the trial surrounded by his officers, and he had filled the forum and all its precincts with armed men for the sake of keeping the peace.

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