10.  Why need I speak of the banquets of those days, why of your joy and self-congratulation, why of your most intemperate drinking-bouts with your crew of infamous companions? Who in those days ever saw you sober, who ever saw you doing any thing which was worthy of a freeman; who, in short, ever saw you in public at all? while the house of your colleague was resounding with song and cymbals, and while he himself was dancing naked at banquets; in which even then, when he was going round in the circle of the dance, he seemed to have no fear of any revolution of fortune. But this man, who is not quite so refined in gluttony nor so musical, lay stupefied amid the reeking orgies of his Greek crew. The banquets celebrated by that fellow at the time of all this misery of the republic, resembled what is reported of the feast of the Centaurs and Lapithae; and it is quite impossible to tell in what sort of debauchery he indulged to the most disgraceful excess. Will you dare to make mention of your consulship? will you dare to say that you ever were consul at Rome?  What? do you think that the consulship consists in being attended by lictors and in wearing the toga praetexta? ornaments which, while you were consul you wished to belong also to Sextus Clodius. And do you, O you dog of Clodius's, think that the consulship consists wholly in the possession of these insignia? A consul ought to be a consul in courage, in wisdom, in good faith, in dignity, in vigilance, in prudence, in performing all the labours and duties of the consulship, and above all things—as, indeed, the name of the magistracy itself points out—in consulting the interests of the republic. Am I to think that man a consul who thought that the senate had no existence in the republic? and am I to account him a consul, who takes no heed of that great council without which, even in the time of the kingly power, the kings could not have any existence at Rome? But I pass over all those points. When a levy of slaves was being held in the forum; when arms were in open daylight being carried to the temple of Castor; and when that temple, having its doors thrown down and its steps torn up, was occupied by the remnant of the conspirators, and by the man who had once been a pretended accuser of Catiline, but who now was seeking to be his avenger; when Roman knights were being banished; when virtuous men were being driven with stones out of the forum; when the senate were prevented not only from assisting the republic, but even from mourning over it; when that citizen, whom this venerable body, with the assent of Italy and all the nations of the earth, had styled the saviour of his country, was being driven away without a trial, in a manner contrary to all law, contrary to all precedent, by slaves and an armed mob;—I will not say, with your assistance (though I might say that with truth), but certainly without your lifting up your voice against it;—will any one believe that there were any consuls at all at to me at that time?  Who, then, are robbers, if you were consuls? Who can be called pirates, or enemies, or traitors, or tyrants?
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
THE ORATION OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST LUCIUS CALPURNIUS PISO.
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.