previous next
41. ‘Their aim is not to sue for honours but to extort them from you, and they will get the greatest favours from you without showing the gratitude due even for the smallest. They prefer seeking posts of honour by trusting to accident rather than by personal merit. [2] There is many a man, too proud to submit his merits and claims to inspection and examination, who would think it quite fair that he alone among his competitors should be quite certain of attaining a post of honour, who would withdraw himself from your judgment and transfer your free votes into compulsory and servile ones. [3] Not to mention Licinius and Sextius, whose years of uninterrupted power you number up as though they were kings in the Capitol1, who is there in the State to-day in such humble circumstances as not to find the path to the consulship made easier by the opportunities offered in that measure for him than it is for us and our children? Even when you sometimes wish to elect us you will not have the power; those people you will be compelled to elect, even if you do not wish to do so.’

‘Enough has been said about the indignity of the [4] thing. Questions of dignity, however, only concern men; what shall I say about the duties of religion and the auspices, the contempt and profanation of which specially concern the gods? Who is there who knows not that it was under auspices that this City was founded, that only after auspices have been taken is anything done in war or peace, at home or in the [5] field? Who have the right to take the auspices in accordance with the usage of our fathers? The patricians, surely, for not a single plebeian magistrate is elected under [6] auspices. So exclusively do the auspices belong to us that not only do the people when electing patrician magistrates elect them only when the auspices are favourable, but even we, when, independently of the people, we are choosing an interrex, only do so after the auspices have been taken: we as private citizens have the auspices which your order does not possess even as [7] magistrates. What else is the man doing who by the creation of plebeian consuls takes away the auspices from the patricians who alone can possess them —what else, I ask, is he doing but depriving the State of the auspices? Now, men are at liberty to mock at our religious [8] fears. ‘What does it matter if the sacred chickens do not feed, if they hesitate to come out of their coop, if a bird has shrieked ominously?’ These are small matters, but it was by not despising these small matters that our ancestors have achieved the supreme greatness of this State. Now, as though there were no need of securing peace with the gods, we are polluting all ceremonial [9] acts. Are pontiffs, augurs, kings for sacrifice to be appointed indiscriminately? Are we to place the mitre of the Flamen of Jupiter upon any one's head provided only he be a man? Are we to hand over the sacred shields, the shrines, the gods, and the care of their worship to men to whom it would be impious to entrust [10] them? Are laws no longer to be passed, or magistrates elected in accordance with the auspices? Are the senate no longer to authorise the Assembly of centuries, or the Assembly of curies? Are Sextius and Licinius to reign in this City of Rome as though they were a second Romulus, a second Tatius, because they give away other people's money and other people's [11] lands? So great a charm is felt in preying upon other people's fortunes, that it has not occurred to them that by expelling the occupiers from their lands under the one law vast solitudes will be created, whilst by the action of the other all credit will be destroyed and with it all human society [12] abolished. For every reason I consider that these proposals ought to be rejected, and may heaven guide you to a right decision!’

1 kings in the Capitol —Referring probably to the statues of the kings which were set up on pedestals in the Capitol, but at a later date than Livy is dealing with here.

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 Notes (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1898)
load focus Summary (English, Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1924)
load focus Summary (Latin, W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1898)
load focus Summary (Latin, Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1924)
load focus Latin (W. Weissenborn, H. J. Müller, 1898)
load focus Latin (Charles Flamstead Walters, Robert Seymour Conway, 1919)
load focus English (D. Spillan, A.M., M.D., 1857)
load focus Latin (Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1924)
load focus English (Benjamin Oliver Foster, Ph.D., 1924)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

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

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide References (56 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (11):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.13
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 31-32, commentary, 31.31
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 33.33
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 33-34, commentary, 34.4
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 35.19
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 35.35
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 35.48
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 36.42
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 35-38, commentary, 38.46
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, books 39-40, commentary, 39.15
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita libri, erklärt von M. Weissenborn, book 45, commentary, 45.38
  • Cross-references to this page (23):
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Magistratus
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Patricii
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Plebeii
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Pulli
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Rex
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Salii
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Apex
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Auspicato
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Auspicium
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Caerimoniarum
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Claudia
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Curia
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Dialis
    • Titus Livius (Livy), Ab urbe condita, Index, Interrex
    • Harper's, Augur
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), APEX
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), AUCTOR´ITAS PATRUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), AUGUR
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), COMIT´IA
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), INTERREX
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), PATRI´CII
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), REX SACRO´RUM
    • A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), TRIBU´NUS
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (22):
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: