previous next

6. [14]

The prosecutor indulges me with a gesture. He intimates that Cnaeus Pompeius acted ignorantly. As if it were a lighter charge, when one has been occupied in affairs of state in so important a republic, and been presiding over the most serious transactions, to do anything which you know not to be legal, or to be utterly ignorant what is legal. Do you really mean that he did not know, he who had waged a most formidable and important war in Spain, what were the rights of the city of Gades? or that he did not catch the correct interpretation of a treaty made with the people, as not understanding their language? Will any one then dare to say that Cnaeus Pompeius is ignorant of that which the most ordinary men, men of no knowledge of the world, of no military experience, which every common amanuensis professes to be acquainted with? [15] I, indeed, think on the contrary, O judges, that while Cnaeus Pompeius excels in every kind and variety of accomplishment, even of those which are not easily learnt without the most perfect leisure for their study, his most extraordinary credit and his most admirable knowledge consists in his thorough acquaintance with the treaties, and agreements, and conditions of other peoples, kings, and foreign nations, in short, with the entire laws of war and peace; unless, indeed, you mean to make out that the things which our books teach us while in the shade and at our leisure, Cnaeus Pompeius was incapable of learning, either from books, when he was in the enjoyment of peace, or from the actual transactions, when he was engaged in the business of the state.

It is my opinion, O judges,1 this action is more to be attributed to the fault of the times than of the individual. Nor will I say any more about a trial of so scandalous a description. For it is the stain and disgrace of this age to envy virtue, and to seek to crush the budding flower of worth and dignity. In truth, if Cnaeus Pompeius had lived five hundred years ago, [16] that man from whom, while a young man and a Roman knight, the senate had often sought aid for the general safety; whose exploits had had all nations for their stage, being crowned everywhere by the most illustrious victories, both by land and sea; of which three triumphs had been the witnesses, proving that the whole world was made subject to our empire; whom the Roman people had distinguished with unexampled honours, in that case if it were now said among you that anything that he had done had been done in contravention of a treaty, who would listen to such a statement? No one. For his death would have put an end to the envy of him, his achievements would rest in the glory of his undying name. As then his virtue, if it were only heard of by us, would leave no room for doubt or question, shall it when present among us, when it has been experienced and beheld by ourselves, be injured by the voice of detractors?

1 Orellius considers the text here as hopelessly corrupt, I have translated the reading of Hottomann, which Orellius approves, and gives in his note.

Creative Commons License
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.

load focus Latin (Albert Clark, 1909)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Spain (Spain) (1)
Gades (Spain) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: