But what could not be done then, O conscript fathers, at present not only can be,
but even must be done. I mean, those men who are in reality enemies must be
branded in plain language, must be declared enemies by our formal resolution.
Formerly, when I used the words War or
Enemy, men more than once objected to record my proposition among the other
propositions. But that can not be done on the present occasion. For in
consequence of the letters of Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls, and of
Caius Caesar, propraetor, we have all voted that honors be paid to the immortal
gods. The very man who lately proposed and carried a vote for a supplication,
without intending it pronounced those men enemies; for a supplication has never
been decreed for success in civil war. Decreed, do I say? It has never even been
asked for in the letters of the conqueror.
Sulla as consul carried on a civil war; he led his legions into the city and
expelled whomsoever he chose; he slew those whom he had in his power: there was
no mention made of any supplication. The violent war with Octavius followed.
Cinna the conqueror had no supplication voted to him. Sulla as imperator
revenged the victory of Cinna, still no
supplication was decreed by the senate. I ask you yourself, O Publius Servilius,
did your colleague send you any letters concerning that most lamentable battle
of Pharsalia? Did he wish you to make any motion about a supplication? Certainly
not. But he did afterward when he took Alexandria
; when he defeated Pharnaces; but for the battle of
Pharsalia he did not even celebrate a triumph. For that battle had destroyed
those citizens whose, I will not say lives, but even whose victory might have
been quite compatible with the safety and prosperity of the state.
And the same thing had happened in the previous
civil wars. For though a supplication was decreed in my honor when I was consul,
though no arms had been had recourse to at all, still that was voted by a new
and wholly unprecedented kind of decree, not for the slaughter of enemies, but
for the preservation of the citizens. Wherefore, a supplication on account of
the affairs of the republic having been successfully conducted must, O conscript
fathers, be refused by you even though your generals demand it; a stigma which
has never been affixed on any one except Gabinius; or else, by the mere fact of
decreeing a supplication, it is quite inevitable that you must pronounce those
men, for whose defeat you do decree it, enemies of the state.