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[3]

What? Did not that most illustrious man, Publius Scipio, 1 the Pontifex Maximus, in his capacity of a private citizen, put to death Tiberius Gracchus, though but slightly undermining the constitution? And shall we, who are the consuls, tolerate Catiline, openly desirous to destroy the whole world with fire and slaughter? For I pass over older instances, such as how Caius Servilius Ahala with his own hand slew Spurius Maelius when plotting a revolution in the state. There was—there was once such virtue in this republic, that brave men would repress mischievous citizens with severer chastisement than the most bitter enemy. For we have a resolution 2 of the senate, a formidable and authoritative decree against you, O Catiline; the wisdom of the republic is not at fault, nor the dignity of this senatorial body. We, we alone,—I say it openly, —we, the consuls, are waiting in our duty.


1 This was Scipio Nasica, who called on the consul Mucius Scaevola to do his duty and save the republic; but as he refused to put any one to death without a trial, Scipio called on all the citizens to follow him, and stormed the Capitol, which Gracchus had occupied with his party, and slew many of the partisans of Gracchus, and Gracchus himself.

2 This resolution was couched in the form Videant Consules nequid respublica detrimenti capiat; and it exempted the consuls from all obligation to attend to the ordinary forms of law, and invested them with absolute power over the lives of all the citizens who were intriguing against the republic.

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load focus Notes (J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge)
load focus Latin (Albert Clark, Albert Curtis Clark, 1908)
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  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • J. B. Greenough, G. L. Kittredge, Select Orations of Cicero, Allen and Greenough's Edition., AG Cic. 72
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