previous next
Perhaps you have had in your hands the old records, still to be found in the libraries of antiquaries, which Mucianus is just now collecting, and which have already been brought together and published in, I think, eleven books of Transactions, and three of Letters. From these we may gather that Cneius Pompeius and Marcus Crassus rose to power as much by force of intellect and by speaking as by their might in arms; that the Lentuli, Metelli, Luculli, and Curios, and the rest of our nobles, bestowed great labour and pains on these studies, and that, in fact, no one in those days acquired much influence without some eloquence. We must consider too the eminence of the men accused, and the vast issues involved. These of themselves do very much for eloquence. There is, indeed, a wide difference between having to speak on a theft, a technical point, a judicial decision, and on bribery at elections, the plundering of the allies, and the massacre of citizens. Though it is better that these evils should not befall us, and the best condition of the state is that in which we are spared such sufferings, still, when they did occur, they supplied a grand material for the orator. His mental powers rise with the dignity of his subject, and no one can produce a noble and brilliant speech unless he has got an adequate case. Demosthenes, I take it, does not owe his fame to his speeches against his guardians, and it is not his defence of Publius Quintius, or of Licinius Archias, which make Cicero a great orator; it is his Catiline, his Milo, his Verres, and Antonius, which have shed over him this lustre. Not indeed that it was worth the state's while to endure bad citizens that orators might have plenty of matter for their speeches, but, as I now and then remind you, we must remember the point, and understand that we are speaking of an art which arose more easily in stormy and unquiet times. Who knows not that it is better and more profitable to enjoy peace than to be harassed by war? Yet war produces more good soldiers than peace. Eloquence is on the same footing. The oftener she has stood, so to say, in the battle-field, the more wounds she has inflicted and received, the mightier her antagonist, the sharper the conflicts she has freely chosen, the higher and more splendid has been her rise, and ennobled by these contests she lives in the praises of mankind.

load focus Latin (Henry Furneaux)
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.
Melos (Greece) (1)
Cicero (New York, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (2 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: