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24. [56]

But you have heard, O conscript fathers, the voice of the philosopher. He has said that he never had any desire for a triumph. O you wickedness! you pest! you disgrace! when you were extinguishing the senate, and putting up for sale the authority of this order—when you were knocking down your own consulship to a tribune of the people, and overturning the republic, and betraying my privileges as a citizen, and my safety, for the mere bribe of a province,—if you then had no desire for a triumph, what is it that you will allege in your defence that you did desire so ardently? For I have often seen men, who appeared to me and to others to be over desirous of a province, veil and excuse their desire under the pretence of eagerness for a triumph. This is what Decimus Silanus the consul lately said before this order,—this is what my colleague, too, stated. Nor is it possible for any one to desire an army, and openly to demand one, without putting forward as his pretext for such a demand his desire of a triumph. [57] But if the senate and people of Rome had compelled you (when you did not desire it, or though you even endeavoured to avoid it) to undertake a war and to command an army still it would have been the act of a narrow and mean spirit to despise the honour and dignity of a well earned triumph. For as it is a proof of a trifling character to catch at such praise as is derived from empty reports, and to hunt after all the shadows of even false glory; so it is surely a sign of a very worthless disposition, of one that hates all light and all respectability, to reject true glory, which is the most honourable reward of genuine virtue. But when the senate was so far from requesting and compelling you to take this charge upon you, that it was only unwillingly and under compulsion that it allowed you to do so; when, not only did the Roman people betray no eagerness that you should do so, but not one single freeman voted for it; when that province was your wages for having, I will not say overturned, but utterly destroyed the constitution, and when this covenant ran through all your wicked actions, that if you handed over the whole republic to nefarious robbers, as a reward for that conduct Macedonia should be handed over to you with whatever boundaries you chose; when you were draining the treasury, when you were depriving Italy of all its youth, when you were passing over the vast sea in the winter season,—if you did at that time despise a triumph, what was it, O you most insane of pirates, that urged you on, unless it was some blind desire for booty and rapine? [58]

It is now in the power of Cnaeus Pompeius to act on your plan. For he has made a mistake. He had never had a taste for that philosophy of yours. The foolish man has already triumphed three times. Crassus, I am ashamed of you. What was the reason that, after a most formidable war had been brought to a termination by you, you showed such eagerness to get that laurel crown decreed to you by the senate? Publius Servilius, Quintus Metellus, Caius Curio, Lucius Africanus, why did not you all become pupils of this learned, of this most wise man, before falling into such blunders as you did? Even my friend Caius Pomptinus has it not now in his power to retrace his steps, for he is prevented by the religious ceremonies which have been begun.1 O you foolish Camilli, and Curii, and Fabricii, and Calatini, and Scipios, and Marcelli, and Maximi! O you insane Paullus, you blockhead Marius! Oh how stupid, too, were the fathers of both these consuls; for they, too, celebrated triumphs.


1 Pomptinus had been praetor in Cicero's consulship; the next year he had subdued the Allobroges, but he did not celebrate his triumph till the year A.U.C. 700, in the consulship of Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus and Appius Claudius Pulcher.

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