1. Although, Roman citizens, my custom at the outset of speaking has never been to offer in return the reason why I am defending someone, especially since I have always considered a just cause enough of a bond for me with all citizens in their legal perils, in this defense of Gaius Rabirius' life and citizenship, his reputation, and all his fortunes the rationale underlying my sense of duty, it seems, must be explained, since the reason that seemed to me most just for defending him ought to seem to you the very one for acquitting him. [2] My long friendship with Gaius Rabirius, the honor of the man, considerations of civilized behavior, and the unbroken custom of my life have urged me to defend him, but, in truth, the survival of the Republic, my duty as consul, and, finally, the consulship itself which, along with the welfare of the Republic, you have entrusted to me have compelled me to do so with my every effort.

Criminal negligence, Roman citizens, has not summoned Rabirius into a crisis of his life and citizenship, neither has jealousy inspired by his life nor any lasting, just, and grievous enmity. Rather, that the most important support for the majesty of our empire handed down to us by our ancestors be abolished from the Republic, and that henceforth the influence of the senate, the consul's civilian authority, and the meeting of the minds of good men be utterly powerless against the pernicious plague upon the citizen body, for these aims and purposes and toward overturning these institutions, have one man's old age, frailty, and privacy come under assault. [3] Accordingly, if it is the mark of a good consul, when he sees all the supports of the Republic being undermined and wrest asunder, to bring help to the fatherland, to succor the common health and fortunes, to invoke the integrity of citizens, and to consider his own survival of less importance than the common survival, it is as well the mark of good and brave citizens, men like you who have emerged in every crisis facing the Republic, to cut off all avenues for sedition, to fortify the bulwarks of the Republic, to reckon that the supreme command resides in the consuls, the utmost deliberation in the senate, and to judge that man who has followed their leadership worthy of praise and glory, not penalties and capital punishment. [4] Accordingly, the task of defending this man is primarily mine, but the ardor for preserving the man ought to be ours, yours and mine, in common.

load focus English (C. D. Yonge, 1856)
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