Answer me at the same time, you who call us tyrants who are agreed together as to our views for the general safety, were not you a tribune of the people, but in reality an intolerable tyrant raised of some obscure mud and darkness? and did not you attempt in the first instance to overturn the republic, which was originally founded in obedience to auspices, by the destruction of those same auspices arm after that have not you been the only man to trample under foot and disregard those most holy laws, I mean the Aelian and Fufian laws,—which subsisted through the furious times of the Gracchi, and through all the audacity of Saturninus,—which survived unhurt the rabble of Drusus,1 and the contests of Sulpicius,2 and the massacres of Cinna, and even the battles and bloodshed of Sulla? Did you not threaten the consul with death, and blockade him when he had shut himself up in his house, and attempt even to drag him out of his house? And you, who by means of that magistracy emerged out of actual beggary, and who now even alarm us by your riches, were you not so inhuman as to endeavour, by means of your proposed law, to get rid of and destroy the chosen men and chief leaders of the state?
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THE SPEECH OF M. T. CICERO AGAINST PUBLIUS VATINIUS; CALLED ALSO, THE EXAMINATION OF PUBLIUS VATINIUS.
1 Cicero refers here to the Marcus Livius Drusus who, A. U. C. 661, brought forward an entire series of measures, calculated, as he said, to remedy the evils of the state; among others, one to give the freedom of the city to all the inhabitants of Italy. He was privately assassinated.
2 Publius Sulpicius Rufus was a partisan of Marius; and, as tribune of the people, the instigator of some violent measures against Sulla. After Sulla had driven Marius out of the city, Sulpicius was slain and put to death.
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