When the tribunes revived the old charges of luxury in his winter-quarters at Syracuse1
and the disturbances caused by Pleminius at Locri,2
to make their present charges more credible, on the basis of suspicions rather than of evidence they charged him with having accepted bribes:3
that his captured son had been restored without a ransom and that in all other respects Antiochus had paid court to Scipio as if in his hands alone lay peace and war with Rome;
he had been, they alleged, a dictator, not a lieutenant, in relation to the consul in the province; he had gone there for no other reason than that which Spain, Gaul, Sicily and Africa had long since come to believe should be manifest to Greece and Asia and all the kings and tribes that lie towards the east, namely, that
one man was the source and stay of [p. 179]
Roman power, that under the shadow of Scipio the4
City which was the mistress of the world lay sheltered, that his nod was weighty as decrees of the senate and enactments of the assembly.
A man untouched by ill repute they loaded with innuendo in every possible way. The speeches having continued until nightfall, the matter was adjourned.
When the appointed day came, the tribunes took their seats on the Rostra at dawn; the defendant when summoned came with a great throng of friends and clients through the midst of the meeting to the Rostra, and, when silence ensued, he spoke as follows:
“On this day,5
tribunes of the people, and you, citizens, I fought well and successfully in pitched battle with Hannibal and the Carthaginians in Africa.
Therefore, since it is meet on this day to refrain from trials and quarrels, I shall proceed at once from here to the Capitoline to offer homage to Jupiter Optimus Maximus and Juno and Minerva and the other gods who preside over the Capitoline and the
citadel, and I shall give thanks to them because both on this same day and on many other occasions they have given me the purpose and the capacity to render conspicuous service to the state.
Let all of you too, citizens, for whom it is convenient, come with me and pray to the gods that you may have leaders like me, but on this condition that, if from my
seventeenth year to my old age you have always gone ahead of my years in bestowing honours upon me,6
I have anticipated your honours by my deeds.”7
From the Rostra he went up to the Capitoline. At the same time the whole meeting withdrew and followed Scipio, so that finally even the clerks and messengers left the tribunes, nor did anyone remain with them [p. 181]
except their retinue of slaves and the herald who8
from the Rostra summoned the defendant.
Scipio visited all the temples of the gods, not only on the Capitoline but through the whole City, with the Roman people in attendance upon him.
This day was rendered almost more famous by the general applause of men and by the true estimate of his greatness than that on which he rode into the City in triumph over King Syphax and the Carthaginians.9