Cicero : Pro Cluentio

Sections 1-72

This speech was delivered for A. Cluentius Habitus, in 66 B.C.

The translation is by H.G. Hodge (1927). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.   See also the genealogical tables, which clarify some of the family relationships mentioned in the speech.

[1.] L   [1] Gentlemen : I noticed that the prosecutor's entire speech was divided into two parts, in one of which he seemed to be relying with all confidence upon the now time-honoured prejudice felt against the trial before Junius ; while in the other he seemed to make his reluctant and diffident approach, for form's sake only, to the question of the charge of poisoning, to deal with which this court has been by law established. I am, therefore, determined to imitate him in my defence, dividing my speech between the question of prejudice and the actual charges ; and hoping to make clear to all that it has been my wish neither to avoid the issue by saying too little, nor to obscure it by saying too much. ** [2] But when I come to consider how I am to develop each of these two themes, one of them - the one which is proper to the consideration of your court and of a tribunal appointed by law to deal with poisoning cases - seems likely to demand little either of time or of effort in exposition ; whereas the other, alien as it is from a court of law and more suited to the disorderly excitement of a public meeting than to the calm deliberation of a trial, is likely to involve in its treatment a degree of toil and difficulty of which I am well aware.

[3] But in the face of this difficulty I console myself with the reflection that whereas, in hearing a charge, it is your custom to look wholly to the speaker for its refutation, and not to think that it is any duty of your own to contribute anything to the defendant's acquittal beyond what his counsel can secure by refuting the charge or justify by his arguments ; in dealing on the other hand with prejudice, you ought, as you discuss the case among yourselves, to take into consideration the pleas that should be, rather than those that are, advanced by counsel. For in the actual charges against him only my client's interests are at stake, but the question of prejudice involves the interest of us all. And so, in one part of my speech I shall use the language of demonstration, in the other, that of entreaty : in one I need your careful attention, in the other I must implore your goodwill: for no man can hope to withstand prejudice without your support and that of men like you.

[4] For my part, I confess I know not where to turn : am I to say that there never was a scandal over the corruption of that court; or that it never was discussed at the street-corners, bandied about in the law courts, commented on in the Senate? Am I to expunge from public opinion such firm impressions, so deeply and so long ingrained? That is beyond my power. Yours, gentlemen, is the power to help my innocent client, to come to his rescue when beset by this disastrous calumny, as it were by some ruinous fire, some conflagration threatening all alike. [2.] L   [5] Moreover, though elsewhere truth is all too lacking in support and efficiency, in this place it is false prejudice that should display weakness: prejudice may lord it at a public meeting, but must hide its head in a court of law ; it may thrive in the minds and in the talk of laymen, but should be refused admittance by trained intellects ; it may gain strength from the suddenness of its onslaught, but should decline in vigour after a lapse of time and an examination of the case. Finally, let us stand by that prime characteristic of a fair trial, which we hold as an heritage from our forefathers - that, in courts of law, though there be no prejudice, guilt is punished; and if there be no guilt, prejudice is put aside.

[6] For this reason, then, before I begin to deal with the case proper, I have a request to make to you, gentlemen. First, that, as is only just, you bring to this court no preconceived judgements (for indeed men will cease, not only to respect us as judges, but even to call us judges, unless in this place we base our judgements on the facts of the case, instead of applying to the facts the ready-made judgements we have brought from home). Next - supposing you already to have formed some opinion - that, if it be dislodged by reason, shaken by argument, or finally uprooted by truth itself, you dismiss it without resistance from your minds, if not gladly, at least without reluctance. And lastly, as I proceed to a. detailed refutation of the charge, do not on your part make a mental note of any point against me, but wait till the end and allow me to develop the defence in my own way : the conclusion of my speech will be time enough for you to ask yourselves the reason for any omissions I may have made.

[3.] L   [7] I can easily understand, gentlemen, that the case which I am undertaking is one which, for all these eight long years, you have heard stated from the opposite point of view, and in which public opinion itself has practically given its unspoken verdict and passed sentence against my client. But if Heaven grant me a favourable hearing from you, I will assuredly convince you that a man has nothing to fear so much as prejudice, and innocence - once prejudice is afoot - nothing to hope for so much as a fair trial, wherein alone there may be found at last some means to still the calumnies of falsehood for ever. And so I greatly hope that, if I can bring out in detail and in entirety the various points of my case, this court and bench, so far from being, as his enemies imagined, a source of terror and of dread to my client, will prove at last a haven of refuge to the storm-tossed bark of his unhappy fortunes.

[8] And now, though there is much that I might say, before coming to the case itself, about the far-reaching and dangerous consequences of prejudice, I will not keep your expectation in suspense by dwelling longer on the point ; but will come to the actual charge, appealing to you at the same time, gentlemen, as I realise I may have to do somewhat frequently, to accord me the hearing which I might expect if this case were now being argued for the first time - as indeed it is - and had not often before been argued but never established. For this day is the first on which any refutation of the actual charge has been possible: before to-day, the whole case has been involved in misconception and prejudice. So while I shortly and clearly reply to an accusation of so many years' standing, I crave a boon which you have already begun to grant - that of your kind and careful attention.

[4.] L   [9] Aulus Cluentius is charged with having bribed the court in order to secure the conviction of his enemy, Statius Albius, an innocent man. I shall proceed to show, gentlemen, first - since it was the innocence of this victim of bribery which was chiefly responsible for the virulence of all this prejudice - that no one was ever placed in the dock on graver charges or on weightier evidence : and second, that the same judges who subsequently condemned him, had previously passed verdicts so compromising his case as to make it utterly impossible for them, or indeed for any others, to acquit him. After that, I will proceed to a point, on which I understand you are most anxious for enlightenment, and show that in that trial bribery was indeed attempted, though not in my client's interest but against it. And I shall enable you to judge of the composition of the whole case - how much of it is the contribution of truth, how much the importation of error and how much the concoction of prejudice.

[10] Our first reason for supposing that Cluentius had every right to have confidence in his cause is the fact that, in coming forward with his charge, the grounds of accusation and the evidence on which he relied were equally unassailable. And here I must pause, gentlemen, in order to give you a brief recital of the charges on which Albius was found guilty : you, his son, will, I trust, believe me when I say that I refer to your father's case with reluctance, and only as bound in duty to my client. If indeed I do not satisfy your claims for the moment, I shall still have many subsequent opportunities for making amends: but if I fail now to meet those of my client, it will never again be in my power to do so. And who, moreover, would hesitate in his pleading to sacrifice the tainted memory of a dead felon to the stainless character of a living citizen, especially when the object of such attacks need no longer fear dis grace, for he has been condemned ; nor even sorrow, for he is dead ; while he whom I defend is one on whom a reverse must bring the keenest sufferings of a sensitive mind, and the gravest personal dishonour and disgrace ? [11.] L   In order then that you may understand that Cluentius was induced to prosecute Oppianicus by no sort of desire for self-advertisement or self-glorification, by no love of litigation, but by the scandalous outrages, the daily plots, the very manifest peril to which his life was subjected, I request you, gentlemen, not to take it amiss if I open my case at a point in the somewhat distant past ; for you will much more easily grasp the ultimate issues in this case if you are aware of its first beginnings.

[5.] L   Aulus Cluentius Habitus, gentlemen, father of my client, was a man who, in character, reputation, and nobility of birth was far the most eminent man, not only in the township of Larinum to which he belonged, but in that whole district and neighbourhood. He died in the consulship of Sulla and Pompeius { 88 B.C. }, leaving a son, my client, who was fifteen years old, and a grown-up and marriageable daughter who, shortly after her father's death, became the wife of Aulus Aurius Melinus, her mother's nephew, a young man at that time eminent among his fellows for high character and position. [12] This marriage, highly honourable as it was, and attended by all goodwill, suddenly aroused the outrageous passion of an unnatural woman, involving not only dishonour, but crime. For Sassia, mother of my client Habitus - yes, as a mother I must refer to her throughout this case - his mother, I say, although she behaves towards him with the hatred and the cruelty of an enemy: nor shall the recital of her monstrous crimes ever deprive her of the name which nature has bestowed upon her ; for the more of love and tenderness the very name of mother suggests, the greater will be the detestation which you will hold to befit this, the unheard of outrage of that mother who, at this very moment, as for many years past, is longing for the destruction of her son - she, then, Habitus's mother, conceived an unholy passion for the young Melinus, her son-in-law. At first, but even so not for long, she contrived somehow to restrain her passion : but soon there arose in her so fiery a madness, such transports of inflammatory lust, that her passion was undeterred by considerations of honour, of modesty or of natural feeling ; of family disgrace, or public scandal; of a son's indignation, or a daughter's tears. [13] The young husband's heart, which lacked as yet the strengthening influence of wisdom and understanding, she seduced with those arts by which a man of his age can be snared and captivated. Her daughter, besides being tortured by the resentment which any woman would feel at so foul a wrong on the part of her husband, being unable to endure the monstrous sight of her mother as her husband's mistress - whereof she thought it would be sinful of her even to complain - desired that no one else should know of her trouble ; and was gradually losing her youth as she wept and lamented, clasped in the arms of my client, her most devoted brother.

[14] But lo! a sudden divorce seems likely to put an end to all her troubles. Cluentia leaves Melinus, neither sorry to do so, considering what she had suffered, nor yet glad, considering that he was her husband. Then does this exemplary, this illustrious mother make open display of her delight, revelling and rejoicing in her triumph not over her lust but over her daughter. She is reluctant that her fair fame should any longer be damaged by dim and doubtful suspicion ; she gives orders that the very marriage-bed which two years before she had made ready for her daughter should be adorned and made ready for her, in the self-same house from which her daughter has been driven and hounded out. And so mother-in-law marries son-in-law, with none to bless, none to sanction the union, and amid nought but general foreboding.

[6.] L   [15] Oh! to think of the woman's sin, unbelievable, unheard of in all experience save for this single instance! To think of her wicked passion, unbridled, untamed! To think that she did not quail, if not before the vengeance of Heaven, or the scandal among men, at least before the night itself with its wedding torches, the threshold of the bridal chamber, her daughter's bridal bed, or even the walls themselves which had witnessed that other union. ** The madness of passion broke through and laid low every obstacle : lust triumphed over modesty, wantonness over scruple, madness over sense. [16] Hard indeed was it for her son to bear this disgrace, affecting equally his family, his kindred, and his name ; and to add to his trouble, there were his sister's daily complaints, her ceaseless tears. However, he came to the conclusion that despite such outrageous and criminal conduct on Sassia's part, he ought to take no stronger steps than merely to refrain from all intercourse with such a mother; lest the very things he could not look upon without anguish he might be thought, if he maintained such intercourse, not merely to look upon but even to stamp with his approval.

[17] The origin of the enmity between my client and his mother, you have now heard: how closely it bears upon the case you will understand when you have ascertained what follows. For I am not unaware that, whatever character his mother bears, it is hardly becoming at the trial of a son to mention the depravity of his parent. I should be unfit to undertake any case, gentlemen, if I, who am retained to defend those imperilled by prosecution, were blind to a principle deeply rooted in the common instincts of humanity, and in the very laws of human nature. I fully realise that a man is bound, not only to suppress all mention of a parent's offence, but even to endure it with resignation : but I still hold that the silent endurance of such offences is due, only where either silence or endurance is possible.

[18] In all my client's life he has had nought of disaster to face, no peril of death to meet, no evil to fear, save such as have been entirely due to the contrivance and direction of his mother. Not one of these would he now be mentioning - rather would he allow them to be covered by the veil of silence if not of oblivion : but the issues are indeed such that silence is an absolute impossibility. Why, this very trial, my client's present jeopardy, the charge brought against him, all the crowd of witnesses presently to appear, were originally worked up by his mother, and are by his mother at this moment being organised and equipped with all the wealth and resources at her command. Only lately she herself has come flying from Larinum to Rome to compass the ruin of her son. And here she is - this woman, with her effrontery, her money, and her cruel heart; she organises the prosecution and marshals the evidence; she takes delight in the squalid, mourning garb of the defendant ; ** she longs for his destruction ; she is eager to shed every drop of her blood if only she may first see his poured out. If the course of the trial does not clearly reveal to you all these facts, then believe that I am but wantonly introducing her name into it: but if they stand revealed in all their horror you will be bound to forgive Cluentius for allowing me to say such things : me you would be bound not to forgive if I failed to say them.

[7.] L   [19] At this point I will briefly set forth the charges on which Oppianicus was found guilty, in order that you may realise the resolute attitude of Aulus Cluentius and the motive of the prosecution : and first I will show what was my client's reason for prosecuting, that you may see that it was sheer necessity which compelled him to such action. [20] It was the actual detection of the poison which his stepfather Oppianicus had prepared for him - when the matter was not one of inference but of visible and palpable proof, and there was no possible room for doubt - which induced him to prosecute Oppianicus. How resolutely and how carefully he conducted that prosecution I shall record later: at the moment I want you to realise that my client's one and only motive for prosecution was his desire to escape by this, the only means, from the peril that beset his life, the daily intrigues against his very existence. And in order that you may understand that the charges brought against Oppianicus were of a nature to leave the prosecutor no room to fear, nor the defendant to hope, I will set forth a few of the charges brought at that trial. When you have heard them, none of you will be surprised that the defendant's mistrust of his prospects drove him to take refuge in Staienus and in bribery.

[21] There was a lady of Larinum called Dinea, mother-in-law of Oppianicus, who had three sons, Marcus and Numerius Aurius and Gnaeus Magius, and a daughter Magia, married to Oppianicus. Marcus Aurius, as quite a young man, had been captured at Asculum during the Social War, ** and fell into the hands of Q. Sergius the senator - the same who was tried and condemned in the Assassination Court - and was in his slave-prison. N. Aurius, his brother, died, leaving his property to his brother Gn. Magius. After that, Oppianicus's wife, Magia, died; and last of all Gn. Magius, Dinea's sole surviving son, died also. He left his property to young Oppianicus here, his sister's son, with instructions that he should share it with the testator's mother, Dinea. Meanwhile a reputable and positive informant came to Dinea with the news that.her son, M. Aurius, was alive, and was a slave in the Ager Gallicus. ** [22] When this lady, who had lost all her children, was offered the hope of recovering one of her sons, she called together all her relations and her son's friends and begged them with tears to take the matter up, seek out the young man, and restore to her the only one of all her sons whom Fortune had consented to leave her. No sooner had the quest started, than she fell ill; accordingly she made her will, leaving 400,000 sesterces to this son of hers, but making her grandson, Oppianicus the younger, the heir-in-chief. A few days after that, she died. But her relations, now that Dinea was dead, following the resolve they had made when she was alive, started for the Ager Gallicus with the original informant to seek out M. Aurius.

[8.] L   [23] Oppianicus meanwhile, with that unparalleled wickedness and effrontery of his of which you will have so many instances, first bribed the informant by the help of a friend of his who was a native of the Ager Gallicus ; and next succeeded, with the expenditure of a small sum, in getting M. Aurius himself removed and murdered. Those who had started out to seek for and to recover their kinsman, wrote to the Aurii at Larinum, their own and Aulus's relations, saying that they were finding the quest difficult, because the informant had to their knowledge been bribed by Oppianicus. One Aulus Aurius, ** a man of courage, enterprise, and noble birth and a near relation of the missing man, read out this letter in the Forum before a large audience in the presence of Oppianicus, saying in a loud voice that he would prosecute Oppianicus if he found that Marcus Aurius had been murdered. [24] Meanwhile whose who had started out to the Ager Gallicus soon returned with the news that M. Aurius had been murdered, and not only his relations but all Larinum was inflamed with hatred of Oppianicus and pity for the murdered youth. And so when the Aurius who had previously given notice of his intention to prosecute, began to inveigh against him with loud threats, he fled from Larinum and took refuge in the camp of the distinguished general Quintus Metellus. [25] Never after this flight, which bore witness alike to his guilt and to his guilty conscience, did he expose himself to the judgement of the law, or, unless he was armed, of his enemies : but taking advantage of the victory of violence under Sulla, he swooped down upon Larinum with an armed following to the utmost consternation of everybody. The Council of Four, ** appointed by the townsfolk, he deposed, and announced that he and three others had been appointed by Sulla, who had also given him orders to secure the proscription and execution of the Aurius who had threatened to denounce him on a capital charge, together with a second Aurius, his son Lucius, and Sextus Vibius, whom he was alleged to have used as a go-between in bribing the informant. Accordingly they were put to a cruel death, leaving the rest of the townsfolk in no small dread of proscription and death at his hands. Who could imagine that, after the exposure of these facts to the court in the course of his trial, there was any possibility of his acquittal ?

[9.] L   Yet these are mere trifles: hear the rest, and you will be surprised not that Oppianicus was at length convicted, but that he should have remained for any length of time a free man. [26] Behold first the insolence of the fellow! He conceived the desire of marrying Sassia, Habitus's mother, her whose husband, Aulus Aurius, he had murdered. Whether his effrontery was the greater in proposing to her, or her heartlessness should she accept him, it is difficult to say : but let me, none the less, describe to you the delicacy and resolution of them both! [27] Oppianicus asked Sassia to marry him, and pressed his suit : but she, without feeling surprise at his insolence, or contempt for his effrontery, or even repulsion at the thought of his house, which reeked with the blood of her husband, gave as her reason for shrinking from such a marriage the fact that he had three sons. Oppianicus, who had conceived a desire for Sassia's wealth, thought he need not look outside his own house to find a way of surmounting this impediment to his marriage. He had with him his infant son by Novia, but his other son, ** by Papia, was being brought up under his mother's care at Teanum in Apulia, which is 18 miles from Larinum. Without giving any reason, he suddenly sent for this boy from Teanum, an unusual thing for him to do except at the games or other occasions of holiday. His poor mother sent him without a suspicion of harm ; and that same day - Oppianicus having started on a pretended journey to Tarentum - the boy, who had been seen in perfect health at the eleventh hour, ** was dead before nightfall, and was placed on the pyre next day before the light could dawn. [28] And the first news of this terrible bereavement was conveyed to his mother by common gossip earlier than by anyone of Oppianicus's household. She, on hearing at one and the same moment that she had lost both her son and her part in his funeral, came instantly to Larinum dazed with grief, and there celebrated his funeral afresh, though he was already in the grave. Not ten days had passed before his other son, the infant, was murdered. And so, without waiting, Sassia married Oppianicus in high spirits and with the realisation of all her hopes: small wonder, when she saw herself wooed, not by the wedding gifts of her betrothed, but by the murder of his children! And Oppianicus, on his part, far from coveting money for his children's sake, as most men do, found a pleasure in sacrificing his children for the sake of money.

[10.] L   [29] I realise, gentlemen, that your human hearts are wrung by this, my brief recital of his foul crimes. What then do you suppose their feelings were who had not only to listen to such a story, but to pass judgement on it? You are hearing the story of a man whom you are not set to judge, whom your eyes do not behold, who is beyond the reach of your hatred; who has paid his debt to nature and to the law, and has been punished, by the law with exile, by nature with death. You are hearing that story not from the lips of his enemy or on the evidence of witnesses ; you are hearing my short and compendious version of events which might be narrated at length. But his judges were hearing the story of a man on whom they were bound by oath to give their verdict, a man whose wicked and guilt-stained countenance they beheld as he stood before them, a man whose effrontery commanded universal hatred and the universal opinion that he was worthy of the severest penalties : they were hearing it as told by his accusers, as supported by the testimony of many witnesses ; they were hearing the grave and lengthy recital of each several point by the eloquence of P. Cannutius. [30] Is there anyone who, with such facts before him, could possibly imagine Oppianicus to be the innocent victim of judicial corruption ?

Now, gentlemen, I will give you a general review of what remains to be told, bringing my narrative to those events which belong more properly to my client's case. Pray bear in mind that though it is not my task to accuse the dead Oppianicus, none the less, in my attempt to persuade you that my client did not bribe the court, I primarily base my defence on the fact that Oppianicus whom it condemned was a thorough-paced and guilty scoundrel. Why, when Oppianicus with his own hands had given a cup to his wife, Cluentia, my client Habitus's aunt, suddenly in the act of drinking she cried out that she was dying in dreadful pain : she lived no longer than she took to speak and died with the cry on her lips. Besides the suddenness of her death and her dying utterance, all the usual indications and traces of poison were afterwards found on her body. And he used poison, too, to murder his brother, G. Oppianicus.

[11.] L   [31] But neither was he satisfied with that: although in the murder of a brother by itself every form of guilt is comprehended, yet he previously prepared his means of approach to this monstrous deed by yet other crimes. His brother's wife Auria was pregnant, and was thought to be approaching her delivery ; therefore he poisoned her in order that his brother's seed might perish with her. He next turned his attention to his brother who, too late, the cup of death already drained, when crying out upon his own death and his wife's, and wanting to alter his will, died in the very act of expressing his intentions. The wife, then, he murdered, to prevent her bearing a child who would bar his inheritance of his brother's property, and robbed the offspring of life before they could receive nature's gift, the light of day ; thereby making it known to all that nothing was barred, nothing sacred to a man from whose ruthlessness not even the protection of their mother's womb could save his brother's children. [32] I remember a case which occurred when I was in Asia: how a certain woman of Miletus, who had accepted a bribe from the alternative heirs and procured her own abortion by drugs, was condemned to death : and rightly, for she had cheated the father of his hopes, his name of continuity, his family of its support, his house of an heir, and the Republic of a citizen-to-be. How much more severely did the same crime deserve to be punished in Oppianicus; for she in doing violence to her body brought pain upon herself, but he produced the same result as she by the painful death of another. Most men seem unequal to the task of murdering a succession of victims one at a time : Oppianicus came as a discovery - the murderer, in a single victim, of more than one person.

[12.] L   [33] Now young Oppianicus's uncle, Gn. Magius, had come to realise his habitual ruthlessness ; and so, on the approach of a dangerous illness, when making his sister's son, young Oppianicus here, his heir, he called together his friends and asked his wife, in the presence of his mother, Dinea, whether she was expecting a child, and on her replying that she was, he asked her to reside after his death with Dinea, who was then her mother-in-law, ** until her confinement ; and to take every care that the child she had conceived should come safely to the birth. And then by his will he left her a large sum as a charge on his son's expectation, should a son be born to him, but nothing at all in the event of alternative inheritance. ** [34] You see his suspicions of Oppianicus : his estimate of the man is no less obvious ; for he did not appoint the father of his heir trustee to his own children. See now what Oppianicus did, and you will realize that Magius's foresight on his deathbed did not extend far enough into the future. The legacy of money which had been made to the woman as a charge on her son in the event of his birth, Oppianicus discharged to her in ready money though it was not due - if indeed such a transaction can be called the discharge of her legacy and not the price of her abortion. She took this fee - as well as many other presents which at his trial were quoted from his accounts - and, yielding to avarice, sold to the abandoned Oppianicus the promise of her womb, the special object of her husband's trust. [35] You would think that nothing could surpass such wickedness ; but wait to hear the end: the woman whose duty it was, as her husband had conjured her, not to venture inside any home but her mother-in-law's for the next ten months, ** married Oppianicus within five months after her husband's death! Their union was not of long duration, for the bond between them was not the holy estate of matrimony, but companionship in crime.

[13.] L   [36] Again, take the murder of Asuvius, the wealthy young man of Larinum. How notorious it was at the actual time when it occurred, and how widely discussed! There was at Larinum a certain Avillius, a profligate and penurious rogue, who had a talent of a kind for playing upon the weaknesses of his youthful dupes. By flattery and obsequious attentions he succeeded in worming himself into the confidence of Asuvius ; and Oppianicus now began to hope that he might use this Avillius as a weapon of assault against Asuvius, and through him lay successful siege to the young man and carry his ancestral fortunes by storm. Larinum saw the contrivance of the scheme; the scene was transferred to Rome; for they thought that solitude was preferable for the hatching of the plot, whereas the crowded city lent itself better to the accomplishment of such a deed. Asuvius and Avillius started for Rome together ; Oppianicus followed closely in their footsteps. Their ensuing life in Rome - with all its banquetings, its wantonness, all its extravagant profligacy, not merely known but personally shared and abetted by Oppianicus - it would be tedious to relate, especially as I am anxious to pass on to other topics : but let me tell you how this false friendship ended.

[37] While the young man was at the house of some mistress, and stayed on for the following day where he was spending the night, Avillius, as had been decided, pretended that he was ill and wanted to make his will. As witnesses to seal this will, Oppianicus introduced to him persons calculated to know neither Asuvius nor Avillius, himself addressing Avillius by Asuvius's name. The will was signed and sealed as if it were that of Asuvius, and the witnesses went away. Avillius got better on the spot. A short time after that, Asuvius was taken for a walk, seemingly to the Gardens, ** but actually further on to some sand-pits outside the Esquiline gate, and was there murdered. [38] He had been missing for a day or two and could not be found in any of the resorts where his habits led people to look for him, and Oppianicus was giving it out in the Forum of Larinum that he and some friends of his had recently sealed his will as witnesses, when his freedmen, and a few of his friends, coming to know that on the last day he had been seen alive he had been in Avillius's company, and that many people had seen them together, broke in upon Avillius and haled him before the judgement-seat of Q. Manlius, who at that time was one of the three Commissioners of Police { triumviri }. Whereupon, without anyone to give evidence, or lay information against him, the recent memory of his crimes frightened him into disclosing the whole story which I have just told you, and confessing that he had murdered Asuvius on the instigation of Oppianicus. [39] Manlius dragged the skulking Oppianicus from his house, and the informer Avillius was made to confront him. What more would you have me tell you? You knew Manlius, most of you ; from boyhood up he had never given a thought to the path of honour, the formation of character, or anything that comes as the reward of a good name: from being a brazen and reprobate hanger-on, he had been raised by the votes of the populace at the time of the Civil War to a seat on that tribunal, ** before which he had often been haled amid the vituperation of the crowd. And so he came to an understanding with Oppianicus, accepted a bribe from him, and abandoned a perfectly clear case of which he had already taken recognition. It. was not until the trial of Oppianicus that this charge in the matter of Asuvius was brought home by numerous witnesses, as well as by the confession of Avillius, a confession which established that the person primarily implicated was Oppianicus, he whom the prosecution describes as the poor innocent victim of a corrupt trial !

[14.] L   [40] Again, is it not patent, Oppianicus, that your father murdered your grandmother, Dinea, whose heir you are? For when he introduced to her that doctor of his, so notorious and so often "successful," the poor lady cried out that she absolutely declined to be attended by one whose attentions had lost her all her children. Thereupon he at once approached one Lucius Clodius of Ancona, a travelling quack, who happened to be visiting Larinum, and came to an understanding with him for 2000 sesterces, as is shown in his own accounts. Clodius was in a hurry, having many other market-towns to visit, so he finished his task directly he was brought in. He killed the woman with the first draught he gave her, and not another moment did he linger in Larinum.

[41] Moreover, when Dinea was making her will Oppianicus used his position as her one time son-in-law to get hold of it, rubbed out the bequests with his finger, ** and to prevent his betrayal by the erasures, for he had made many of them, transcribed the will on to another document after her death, forging the seals of the witnesses.

I am intentionally omitting many details for fear that even those I have mentioned may seem all too many: you must, however, understand that Oppianicus was ever himself, at other periods of his life as at this. He it was whom the Town Council { decurions } of Larinum adjudged by a unanimous finding to have falsified the public records of their censors, with whom no one would have any pecuniary transactions, nor any dealings whatsoever, whom not one of all his kinsmen and connexions ever appointed by will as trustee to his children. No one thought that it was decent to call upon him, to meet him in society, to converse with him, or to ask him to dinner. Everyone shrank from him, everyone loathed him, everyone avoided him as a savage and dangerous brute, a very scourge. [42] And yet, for all his effrontery, his wickedness, and his guilt, Habitus would never have undertaken to accuse him, gentlemen, had any other course been consistent with his own safety. Oppianicus was indeed my client's enemy ; yes, but his stepfather as well: his mother was an unfeeling woman and she hated him, but still she was his mother; and, finally, no one could be more averse from prosecution than Cluentius, whether from his disposition, his sympathies, or his settled manner of life. But when he was confronted with the alternatives, either to undertake a just and dutiful prosecution or to die a premature and shameful death, he chose rather to prosecute as best he could than to succumb to such an end.

[43] And now to convince you of the truth of what I say, I will relate to you a crime which was completely discovered and brought home to Oppianicus : the story will convince you that my client's charge and Oppianicus's condemnation were equally and alike inevitable.

[15.] L   There were at Larinum certain persons called Martiales, the official priests of Mars, dedicated to the service of the god by local regulations and religious ordinances of great antiquity. Their number was considerable : moreover, as is the case with the numerous priests of Venus in Sicily, these priests of Mars at Larinum were regarded as belonging to the household of the god. ** But despite this Oppianicus suddenly began to maintain the plea that they were free men and Roman citizens. This was a great blow to the Town Council { decurions } of Larinum and all the townspeople ; so they asked Habitus to take up the case and contest it in the public interest : and although he had kept aloof from all such matters, still he was unwilling to disappoint the strong and unanimous wish of Larinum, in consideration of his position, the antiquity of his family and his feeling that he had not come into the world to serve his own interests but also those of his fellow townspeople and other friends. [44] The case came into court and was taken up to Rome, and there was a great disputation every day between Habitus and Oppianicus, so keen was each to make good his cause. It was Oppianicus's nature to be ungovernable and violent, and his madness was further inflamed by the hatred and enmity of Habitus's mother against her son. They, then, thought it indispensable to their interests to detach my client from the case of the Martiales. But behind this there was another and a more cogent reason, appealing strongly to Oppianicus's great love of money ; [45] for up to the time of Oppianicus's trial, Habitus had never made a will, being unable to bring himself either to leave anything to such a mother as his, or entirely to pass over a parent's name in his will. When Oppianicus knew this (for there was no secrecy about it), he realised that on Habitus's death all his property would pass to his mother, who could afterwards be put to death with greater advantage to himself, through the addition to her fortune, and with less risk, through the loss of her son. With these motives then to urge him on, hear how he endeavoured to get rid of Habitus by poison.

[16.] L   [46] There were twin brothers, Gaius and Lucius Fabricius, of the town of Aletrium, who were much alike both in appearance and character, though most unlike their fellow townspeople, who are, as I suppose not one of you is ignorant, conspicuously and uniformly distinguished by the consistency and moderation of their mode of life : with these two men Oppianicus was always on most intimate terms. Now you are aware, I take it, how much can be done by a similarity of tastes and character to cement a friendship. Their lives were lived on the assumption that no source of profit was dishonourable ; they originated every form of deceit and trickery, every means of defrauding minors; their vices and their profligacy were widely notorious: wherefore, as I have already said, Oppianicus had been anxiously devoting himself for many years past to the cultivation of their friendship. [47] And so, at this particular time, he decided to employ Gaius Fabricius - for Lucius had died - in maturing his plot against Habitus.

Habitus was at that time in poor health, and was employing as his doctor one Cleophantus, not unknown in his profession, and personally a man of repute : his slave, Diogenes Fabricius now began to tempt with promises and bribes to poison Habitus. The slave, who was no fool, but, as the event proved, honest and upright, did not reject Fabricius's overtures, but reported the matter to his master, and Cleophantus talked it over with Habitus. Habitus immediately confided in his friend M. Baebius, the senator, and I think that you remember the honour, foresight, and care which characterised him. His advice was that Habitus should purchase Diogenes from Cleophantus in order to make it easier either to bring home the charge on his information, or to prove it false. To cut the story short, Diogenes was purchased : in a few days the poison was prepared : several reliable men, emerging from their concealment, found in the hands of Scamander, the Fabricii's freedman, a sealed packet containing the money that was being offered as consideration for the deed.

[48] Who, in Heaven's name, after hearing these facts, will say that Oppianicus was the victim of corruption? [17.] L   Who was ever put on trial for such effrontery, such wickedness, such manifest guilt? What talent, what eloquence, what defence by whomsoever elaborated, could have availed against this one charge? And further, who could possibly doubt, with these facts before him, this actual discovery of the crime, that Cluentius was bound either to face death or to prosecute ?

[49] I imagine, gentlemen, that I have adequately proved that the charges against Oppianicus were such as to make his acquittal by honest means an impossibility : so let me now show you that he was arraigned in circumstances which, as his case had already been decided not once but twice, made him a condemned criminal before he came into court. For the first person to be indicted by Cluentius, gentlemen, was the man in whose hands the poison had actually been found - Scamander, the freedman of the Fabricii. There was no bias on the part of the jury, no suspicion that the court had been bribed. There was placed before the court a straightforward issue, an established fact, a single charge. At this juncture G. Fabricius - the same to whom I have referred before ** - realising that if his freedman were convicted he would be in considerable danger of being convicted too, brought to my house a deputation of the Aletrians: for he knew that I was a neighbour of theirs, ** and on intimate terms with most of them. And although their opinion of Fabricius was what it could not help being, still, because he was their fellow-townsman, they felt that they owed it to their self-respect to do what they could for his defence. Accordingly they asked me to defend him, and undertake Scamander's case, involving also, as it did, his patron's liability to conviction. [50] I then, being unable to refuse anything to these, my good and honourable friends, and having no more idea than the actual people who sought to place it in my hands, that the case was so serious or so well established, promised them all they wanted. [18.] L   The trial began: Scamander was put in the dock. The counsel for the prosecution was P. Cannutius, a man of distinguished ability and an experienced pleader. While he confined his charge against Scamander to three words: ''Poison was detected," it was against Oppianicus that he aimed every weapon of his attack, exposing the motives for his plots, recalling his friendship with the Fabricii, urging his career of effrontery ; and finally, after a diversified and telling review, bringing the whole indictment to its culmination in the overt discovery of the poison. [51] And then I rose to reply, and Heaven knows how anxious I was, how uneasy, how apprehensive! Personally, I am always very nervous when I begin to speak. Every time I make a speech I feel I am submitting to judgement, not only my ability but even my character and honour, and am afraid of seeming either to promise more than I can perform, which suggests shamelessness, or to perform less than I can, which suggests bad faith and indifference. On this particular occasion I was a prey to every form of nervousness, afraid of seeming tongue-tied if I said nothing, or shameless if I said much, with so weak a case.

[19.] L   At last I recovered my self-possession, and made up my mind that I must take a strong line, reflecting that it was generally considered creditable in a young pleader as I was then, not to fail a man on his trial even if his case were somewhat weak. And so I did ; I put forth all my resources, I availed myself, in so far as I could, of every legal nostrum and evasion, with the result that, though I hardly like to say so, no one could possibly imagine that the advocate had not done justice to his case. [52] But as fast as I laid hold on any argument, the prosecution wrenched it from my grasp. Did I call on my opponent to show any enmity between Scamander and Habitus? He admitted that there had been none, but said that Oppianicus, whose agent the accused was, had been, and still was, Cluentius's bitterest foe. Or if I took the line that Scamander did not stand to gain anything by Habitus's death, he conceded the point, but said that in that event all Habitus's property was to go to the wife of Oppianicus, a past master in the art of wife-murder. When I put forward the defence which has always been held perfectly decent at the trial of a freedman, namely, that he bore a good character with his patron, he admitted it, but asked who would give the patron a good character. [53] When I dwelt at some length on the point that Diogenes had been employed to set a trap for Scamander, and that they had arranged, in a different connexion, that Diogenes should bring medicine, not poison - adding that it was a thing that might happen to anyone - he asked why Scamander came to such a lonely spot, and alone ; why with a sealed packet of money At this point my case broke down under the weight of unimpeachable testimony. M. Baebius deposed that he had suggested the purchase of Diogenes, and had been present when Scamander was caught with the poison and the money. Publius Quintilius Varus, a scrupulous witness, whose word carried great weight, deposed to the plot against Habitus, and to a conversation which Cleophantus had had with him just after the accident, about his having tried to tamper with Diogenes. [54] And in this trial, in which I appeared to be defending Scamander, he was only nominally the accused person : the real accused, the real person in danger of conviction, was, throughout the whole prosecution, Oppianicus. This he was at no pains to conceal, nor could he by any means disguise it: he put in a regular attendance in court; kept beating up his supporters, and throwing all his efforts, all his influence into the struggle: and ended by taking his seat - an act which Scamander had no small cause to regret - on these very benches, ** as if he were himself on trial. The eyes of all the jurors were turned, not upon Scamander, but upon Oppianicus, whose fear and agitation, whose restless and anxious expression, whose frequent changes of colour, made clear and open what before had been a matter only of suspicion.

[20.] L   [55] When the time came for the jurors to consider their verdict, the President of the court, G. Junius, in accordance with the law of Sulla, which was then in force, asked the accused whether he wished the voting on his case to be secret or open. ** As Oppianicus said that Junius was Habitus's friend, Scamander acted on his suggestion and replied that he wished it to be secret. The jurors considered their verdict. By every vote but one, which Staienus admitted to be his, and at the first hearing of the case, Scamander was found guilty. Was there a man in the court at the time, who failed to realize that the conviction of Scamander amounted also to a judgement on Oppianicus? What finding was involved in that conviction unless that the poison which had been procured, was intended for Habitus? Nay, what shadow of suspicion was, or could have been thrown on Scamander of having conceived a wish to murder Habitus without any instigation ? [56] Despite the issue of this trial, which left Oppianicus virtually convicted already by public opinion, though he had yet to be expressly convicted by a court of law, Habitus did not at once have him put on trial: he wanted to find out whether juries dealt severely only with the actual persons whom they understood to have had poison in their possession, or whether they thought the abettors and accessories of such crimes no less worthy of punishment. And so he at once put on trial G. Fabricius, whom, on account of his friendship with Oppianicus, he thought to have been an accessory to the crime in question, and succeeded in securing that his case be placed first on the list, owing to its connexion with the previous case. On this occasion, not only did Fabricius fail to bring to me my neighbours and friends from Aletrium, but found himself unable any longer to secure their support, either for his case or for his character. [57] For while it was still undecided we thought it only considerate to undertake the case, however unsatisfactory, of one with whom we were not unconnected; but we felt that any attempt to upset the judgement, once it was passed, would be outrageous. Fabricius, consequently, was driven by his defenceless condition to resort in desperation to the brothers Caepasii, hard-working pleaders, disposed to regard any chance which they were given to plead as a compliment and a favour.

[21.] L   Now a somewhat unjust inference has been drawn from the fact that in a case of physical disease, the worse it is, the more distinguished and superior is the doctor who is called in ; whereas in the case of criminal trials, the worse the cause, the more obscure and inferior is the advocate who is briefed. But perhaps the reason is this, that the doctor only lends his skill, a pleader lends also his good name.

[58] Well, Fabricius was summoned ; Cannutius opened the prosecution with a short speech, for he held the case prejudged. The elder Caepasius embarked on a long and far-fetched exordium. At first his speech had an attentive hearing: Oppianicus began to raise his drooping and dejected spirits : Fabricius began to feel happy : he did not realise that what was impressing the judges was not the eloquence of the pleader but the effrontery of the plea. Coming to the defence proper, Caepasius gratuitously inflicted fresh wounds on a case which was maimed at the outset, until, though he was doing his best, he seemed at times not to be defending his client but to be acting in collusion with the prosecutor. For instance, he thought he was pleading very cleverly, and produced from the secrets of his stock-in-trade these weighty words: "Look back, ** gentlemen, upon the lot of mortal man; look back upon its changes and chances; look back upon the old age of G. Fabricius!" After frequent repetitions of the phrase "Look back," by way of ornamenting his speech, he finally looked back himself: and lo! C. Fabricius had left his seat with hanging head. [59] Thereupon the court burst out laughing ; counsel lost his temper, in annoyance that his case was slipping through his fingers, and that he could not complete his stock passage beginning "Look back": and he was as near as possible to pursuing his client and dragging him back to his seat by the scruff of his neck, so that he could conclude his peroration. And so Fabricius was found guilty, first by the very significant verdict of his own conscience, and then by the operation of law and the verdict of the court. [22.] L   After this, what more am I to say of the character and trial of Oppianicus? He was put on his trial before the same judges, convicted already by their two previous verdicts. The same judges who, in convicting Fabricius and his accomplice, had already passed sentence on Oppianicus, placed his trial first on the list: he was charged with the most heinous crimes - those which I have already narrated and many others besides, all of which I now pass over : he was charged before men who had already convicted Scamander, his agent, and G. Fabricius, the accessory to his evil deed. [60] Which in Heaven's name is the more surprising - that he was convicted, or that he dared to contest the case at all ? What possible course was there for judges who, had they been mistaken in convicting Fabricius and Scamander, were obliged to be consistent in the case of Oppianicus and to stand by their former verdicts ? Or were they to take it on themselves to quash their own verdicts, whereas most men take care to see when they give a verdict that they are not at variance with the verdicts given by others? And were those who had convicted Fabricius's freedman, as Oppianicus's agent in the evil deed, and Fabricius himself as accessory to it, to acquit the actual contriver of the crime? Were those who, without any previous verdict to prejudice the case, had none the less convicted others on the bare evidence before them, to set at liberty this fellow who had been twice convicted before he came into court ? [61] That would indeed have been to brand the senatorial juries of the day, ** not with the false stigma of prejudice, but with real and conspicuous ignominy, and to load them with such disgrace and dishonour as would make it impossible to defend them. What answer indeed were those judges to give to the question: "You found Scamander guilty : on what charge?"   "Why, on the charge of intending to poison Habitus through the agency of the doctor's slave."   "What was Scamander seeking to gain by Habitus's death ? "   "Nothing: but he was the tool of Oppianicus."   "G. Fabricius, too, you found guilty: why?"   "Because, while he was an intimate friend of Oppianicus, and his freedman was caught in the act of evil-doing, we could not take the view that Fabricius was not privy to it."   If, then, they had acquitted Oppianicus, though twice convicted by their own verdicts, who could have tolerated such a disgrace to the court, such inconsistency in judicial decisions, such caprice on the part of the judges ?

[62] If you now perceive what my whole speech has gone to establish - that it was inevitable at Oppianicus's trial that the accused should be found guilty, all the more as his judges were the same who had given verdicts prejudicial to his case, you must needs perceive this further point, that the accuser could have no sort of motive for bribing the court.

[23.] L   Now putting aside all other arguments, I ask you, Titus Accius, ** whether you think that Fabricius and Scamander, too, were wrongly convicted, whether you say that at their trials, too, the court was bribed, trials in which the latter found only Staienus to vote for his acquittal, and the former actually convicted himself. Come, if they were rightly convicted, what was their crime? Was anything alleged against them other than the procuring of poison to murder Habitus? Was anything under discussion at their trials other than these very plots made by Oppianicus against Habitus through the agency of Fabricius? Nothing, gentlemen; I repeat, you will find nothing. There is living memory to appeal to, there are the public records ; contradict me if I am wrong, read out the record of the evidence : inform the court what allegation was made at their trials - even by way of an aspersion apart from a definite charge - other than Oppianicus's attempt to poison? [63] Much might be said as to why those verdicts were inevitable ; but I will meet your impatience half way, gentlemen. For although I conceive that no one has ever had a kinder or more attentive hearing than you are granting to me, still your impatience, though unexpressed, has long been calling me to other topics, seeming to interrupt me with - "Come, now, do you deny that the court was bribed ?" I do not, but maintain that it was not my client who bribed it. "Who did bribe it, then?" I consider, first, that had there been any uncertainty as to what the issue of that trial would be, the balance of probability would still be in favour of the court having been bribed by the man who was afraid that it would convict himself, and not by the man whose fear was that it would acquit his adversary : second, that, inasmuch as there was no doubt what the verdict must be, it was much more likely to have been he who had no other ground of confidence than he who had every ground : and last, that it was much more likely to have been he who had twice failed before these judges, than he who had twice won his case before them. [64] There is assuredly one point which no one, however hostile to Cluentius, could fail to concede me : if it be agreed that bribery was used in that case, it was used either by Habitus or by Oppianicus. ** If I show you that it was not used by Habitus I gain my point that it was used by Oppianicus. If I demonstrate that it was used by Oppianicus, I clear Habitus. And so, although I have adequately shown you that my client had no reason for bribing the court, from which it follows that Oppianicus did bribe it, still let me give you a separate proof of this latter point.

[24.] L   There are arguments which, though weighty indeed, I will not stress: as that the guilt of bribery must belong to the man who was in danger of conviction, the man who could hope to escape by no other recourse, the man who had always displayed an unparalleled effrontery. There are many such arguments ; but when my case is not a doubtful one but clear and obvious, I do not need to rehearse my proofs one by one. [65] I assert that Statius Albius gave a large sum of money to G. Aelius Staienus, one of the jurors, for the purpose of bribing the court. Does anyone deny it? I challenge you, Oppianicus, and you, Accius, who both deplore his conviction, one with the eloquence of an advocate, the other with the mute loyalty of a son. Deny if you dare that Oppianicus gave money to Staienus. Deny it, I say, though it is now my turn to speak. What! are you speechless? Or are you rather bound to admit what you brought an action to recover, what you acknowledged, what you carried off? How have you the face to speak of bribery when it was by your side, as you acknowledge, that money was given to one of the jurors before the trial, and wrested from him after it? [66] But how in the world did this come about? I shall go back a little in my narrative, gentlemen, and shall make all the events which have long lain in obscurity so clear, that you will imagine that you have seen them with your own eyes. I beg you will continue to attend as carefully to what follows as you have attended hitherto. I assure you that I shall say nothing which you will think unworthy of this hushed assembly, unworthy of a sympathetic hearing from yourselves.

As soon as Oppianicus began to suspect, from the fact of Scamander's being put on trial, what was hanging over his own head, he set himself to gain the friendship of one who was penniless, brazen, and a past master in the art of judicial corruption and, moreover, himself a juror at the time - namely Staienus. In the first instance, at Scamander's trial he had so far succeeded with his presents and largesses as to secure in him a more zealous partizan than was consistent with the honour of a juror. [67] But afterwards, when Scamander had gained none but Staienus's vote for his acquittal, and Scamander's patron not even his own, he felt the need of more drastic measures to save the situation, and so it was Staienus whose help he began to implore, for himself and for his fortunes, since he thought him a man both subtle in scheming, brazen in contrivance, and swift in execution : - and so he was to some extent, but not as much as he pretended.

[25.] L   Now you are not unaware, gentlemen, that even brute beasts, when prompted by hunger, generally return to the place where they have at some time previously found food. [68] Two years before this, our friend Staienus, in undertaking the case of Safinius Atella's estate, ** had promised to bribe the court with a sum of 600,000 sesterces ; this sum he received from the minor and kept to himself, returning it after the verdict neither to Safinius nor to the purchasers of the estate. When he had squandered the money and had nothing left to satisfy his needs, to say nothing of his pleasures, he made up his mind to return to the same practice of embezzlement in the courts which had yielded him spoils before. And so, seeing Oppianicus already lost and with two previous verdicts like millstones round his neck, ** he raised his drooping spirits, bidding him not despair of success. And Oppianicus began to implore the fellow to show him some means of bribing the court.

[69] Staienus - so at least we had the story later on from Oppianicus himself - said that he was the only man in the country who could do it. But at first he began to make difficulties, saying that he was standing for the aedileship against men of noble family and was afraid of courting unpopularity and failure. After renewed entreaties, he at first demanded a colossal sum ; but finally came down to a practical proposal, bidding Oppianicus bring 640,000 sesterces to his house. As soon as the money was brought to him, the foul fellow began to turn things over in his mind and to say to himself: "Nothing will suit my book better than the conviction of Oppianicus : if he is acquitted, I shall either have to distribute the money among the judges, or pay it to him ; but if he is convicted there will be no one to ask for the money back." [70] So he contrived a really remarkable plan. And the events which I am truthfully narrating to you you will the more readily believe if you will consent to recollect, after all this time, the life and character of Staienus: for we can best judge what a particular man's conduct may, or may not have been, in the light of our estimate of his habits. [26.] L   Needy as he was, and extravagant, brazen, crafty, and treacherous, seeing so large a sum of money deposited in his house, where all was misery and squalor, he began to turn his thoughts to every form of knavishness and fraud. '' Am I to make it over to the judges ? " said he - " What shall I gain for myself except danger and obloquy? Cant I devise some way of making Oppianicuss conviction inevitable? Now suppose - for there is no such thing as impossibility - that some accident does pull Oppianicus's case out of the fire; shan't I have to restore the money ? Well, he's on the edge of the precipice - let's push him over: let's finish him off now he's down." [71] This was his plan - to promise money to certain worthless judges, and then afterwards to keep it to himself, in order that while the conscientious men would doubtless vote independently for a severe verdict, he might make the less worthy judges angry with Oppianicus for having left them in the lurch. And so, with his usual reversal of the order of things he began with the "savoury" Bulbus, ** and finding him yawning gloomily (for he had made nothing for some time) gave him a gentle fillip: "Hullo, Bulbus," he said, 'What do you say to helping me, and making something out of our services to the state ? " As soon as he heard the words "make something," Bulbus replied: "I'll follow you anywhere you like: but what's your idea? " Thereupon Staienus promised him forty thousand sesterces if Oppianicus were acquitted, and asked him to make overtures besides to his usual associates ; while he himself, as head cook and bottle-washer, tried the effect of combining the "sweet" Gutta with the "savoury" Bulbus, [72] so that the latter went down very well with those to whom his promise had given a crumb of hope. A day or two passed, and the scheme was looking far from safe: a need was felt of a depository and a security for the money. Then Bulbus with a smile on his face approached Staienus and said in his most ingratiating manner: "Hullo, Paetus!" (for Staienus had adopted the surname of Paetus from the family tree of the Aelii for fear that if he styled himself Ligur, it would be thought that his surname came from his race and not his family ** ) "About the matter you discussed with me - they are asking me where the money is." Then the profligate vagabond, who battened on what he could make out of the courts, although he had this money hidden away and was brooding over it with eager hopes, wrinkled his forehead - you know his face and the hypocritical expression he used to assume - and since his nature was compounded of dishonesty and falsehood, since he had seasoned his natural faults by careful application and by making knavery his stock-in-trade, he roundly asserted that Oppianicus had left him in the lurch, adding, to support his words, that his own vote, as they were all to vote openly, would be cast for conviction.

Following sections (73-142)


1.(↑)   Cicero afterwards boasted that he had "thrown dust in the eyes of the judges at Cluentius's trial" (Quintilian ii. 17. 21).

2.(↑)   88 B.C.

3.(↑)   The references are to the Roman marriage customs, which included the conveying of the bride at night by a torch-light procession from her old to her new home, over the threshold of which she was lifted (to avoid her stumbling over or even touching it, which was considered unlucky).

4.(↑)   A customary device for exciting the compassion of the court.

5.(↑)   91-88 B.C.: called the "Italian war," because fought between those possessing Roman citizenship and the other inhabitants of Italy who were excluded from it.

6.(↑)   A strip of land extending along the coast of the Adriatic between Ariminum and Ancona.

7.(↑)   See Genealogical Tables, "Family of Dinea".

8.(↑)   The chief magistrates of a provincial town.

9.(↑)   He had actually a third son, the younger Oppianicus.   See Genealogical Tables, "Family of Oppianicus."

10.(↑)   i.e. one hour before sunset.

11.(↑)   The wife was Papia; see Genealogical Tables, "Family of Dinea".

12.(↑)   i.e. if she had a son the son would be "heir" and she would receive a large legacy. If she had no son, someone else would be "heir" and she would get nothing.

13.(↑)   That is to say, ten lunar months, which, according to the unrevised Roman calendar, were regarded as the regular period of gestation, and also as the proper time of a widow's mourning for her husband.

14.(↑)   The word 'hortus' or its diminutive is regularly used to express a public pleasure-garden.

15.(↑)   The words 'eam columnam' in the text refer to the Columna Maenia in the Forum, near which the Commissioners of Police (triumviri capitales) had their tribunal.

16.(↑)   The will was written with a stilus on waxed tablets.

17.(↑)   i.e. they were little better than slaves.

18.(↑)   See § 46.

19.(↑)   Cicero had a country house at Arpinum, his birth-place, which was near Alatrium.

20.(↑)   That is, those reserved for the defence.

21.(↑)   In 137 B.C. the use of the ballot was made compulsory ; Sulla, in 80 B.C., made it optional, but his law had been repealed shortly before Cluentius's trial.

22.(↑)   It seems impossible to express in English the double meaning of 'respice' which, as used by Caecennius, has the sense of "have some regard for."

23.(↑)   This senatorial privilege, restored by Sulla in 81, was abolished in 70 B.C.

24.(↑)   Counsel for the prosecution.

25.(↑)   Cicero ignores the third and most probable hypothesis, that bribery was used by both parties. His speech against Verres indicates that he was well aware of this.

26.(↑)   The case of Safinius was a cause célèbre of the day, of which the details are not known.

27.(↑)   Literally, "with his throat cut by two previous verdicts."

28.(↑)   It seems impossible to do justice to Cicero's somewhat laboured jeu de mots, which turns on the fact that 'bulbus' means some such vegetable as an onion, which was eaten at the end of a Roman meal as the savoury : 'gutta' means a drop and suggests a dressing of sweet oil: and 'conditor', according as the quantity of the "i" is long or short, means either "the seasoner" {condio} or "the founder" {condo}.

29.(↑)   There was a barbarous tribe called Ligurians.

Following sections (73-142) →

Attalus' home page   |   13.11.23   |   Any comments?