Cicero : Pro Fonteio

This speech was delivered for M. Fonteius, probably in 69 B.C.

The translation is by N.H. Watts (1931). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.

{ Fragment discovered by Niebuhr in a Vatican Palimpsest }

[1.] L   [1] . . . that he ought to have. . .; or did he pay as all the others paid ? For my defence, gentlemen of the jury, of Marcus Fonteius, my contention is that, since the enactment of the Valerian Law, ** from his quaestorship until that of Titus Crispinus no one has ever paid otherwise ; I assert that my client followed the example of all his predecessors, while all my client's successors have followed his. [2] What accusation do you make ? What fault can you find ? For with regard to the prosecutor's statement that in the account-books where the abatements of three-fourths and additions of one-fourth were made, ** which he says were established by Hirtuleius, ** he finds Fonteius to have failed in his duty, I cannot conclude whether he is himself mistaken, or wishes to lead you, gentlemen, astray. I put it to you, Marcus Plaetorius : can you bring yourself to admit that we have made good our case, if Marcus Fonteius, in that whereof you accuse him, has followed the lead of Hirtuleius in whose praises you are so loud, while in that for which you praise Hirtuleius, Fonteius has done exactly the same? You censure the method of payment; the public account-books prove that Hirtuleius in his payments followed the same method. You praise Hirtuleius for his method of making reductions of three-fourths in the accounts ; Fonteius instituted the same method with regard to the same description of money. For in case you should be so ignorant of the facts as to suppose that those accounts have reference to a quite different species of old-standing debt, I may tell you that they were established for the self-same reason to deal with the self-same description of money. For when to the tax-farmers who had taken out contracts for Africa and the harbour-dues of Aquileia . . .

[2.] L   [3] . . . No one, no one, I say, gentlemen, will be bold enough to assert that he gave Marcus Fonteius a penny during his quaestorship, or that Fonteius appropriated a penny from the money paid to him on the public account; in no one's books will there be found the slightest hint of such embezzlement, nor among all the items the slightest trace of such misappropriation or deficit. Yet we commonly find that any who are accused under an investigation of this nature are at the outset convicted by witnesses ; for it is almost inconceivable that one who has given money to a magistrate should fail to be induced by resentment, or compelled by scruple, to disclose the fact; and, in the second place, supposing that the witnesses are intimidated by influence, the account-books at any rate remain, and they can neither be corrupted nor tampered with. Let us suppose that Fonteius enjoyed the close friendship of everyone, while all those vast numbers of persons concerned - persons utterly unknown to him and utterly unconnected with him - were anxious not to damage his position, careful of his good name ; yet the facts themselves, the form of the documents, and the way in which the accounts are made up are sufficient to make obvious any forgery, embezzlement, or inaccuracy on either the debit or the credit side. All these persons entered duly monies that they had received on account of the people of Rome ; if they forthwith paid out or advanced to others equally large sums, so that what was received on account of the people of Rome was expended upon some person or other, then it is clear that nothing can have been embezzled. But if some of them took money home with them, from their cash in hand and from their . . .

[3.] L   [4] So help me gods and men! In a case involving a sum of 3,900,000 sesterces not a single witness is forthcoming ! And how many persons were concerned? More than six hundred. And in what country did the transactions take place? Why, in this, this that you see about you. Was any money paid irregularly? No, not a penny was touched without repeated memoranda. What then is the meaning of this prosecution which finds it easier to climb the Alps than just the few steps which lead to the Treasury, which defends the treasury of the Ruteni ** more jealously than that of the people of Rome, which prefers unknown witnesses to those whom it knows, foreigners to fellow-citizens, and which thinks that it is establishing a charge more convincingly upon the capricious allegations of barbarians than upon the documentary evidence furnished by our own countrymen? [5] The accounts of his two magistracies, the triumvirate ** and the quaestorship, in each of which he had the handling and administration of large sums, are so accurately rendered, gentlemen, that in matters which were conducted beneath the general gaze, which affected many men, and which have been embodied in both official and private accounts. no hint of any embezzlement, no suspicion of misconduct, can be discovered. [6] There followed his service as legate in Spain at a time of deep public unrest, when upon the arrival in Italy of Lucius Sulla vast armies contended about laws and judicial procedure ** ; and in this desperate plight of the commonwealth . . .

{ Fragments preserved by other authors }

[4.] L   [7] . . . If no money was paid, of what sum is that a fiftieth part ?

[8] . . . A great amount of corn from Gaul, large forces of infantry from Gaul, considerable numbers of cavalry from Gaul.

[9] . . . That the Gauls hereafter would drink in more sober proportions. . . .

[10] . . . That Plaetorius's mother had kept the school so long as she was alive, and masters after she was dead. **

{ Fragment contained in the Vatican ms. and other Mss. deriving from it }

[5.] L   [11] . . . That under this praetor Gaul was overwhelmed with debt. From whom is it asserted that loans so enormous were procured? From the Gauls? Not at all From whom, then? From Roman citizens trading in Gaul. Why do we not hear what they have to say, and why are none of their accounts brought into court? I ply the prosecutor with earnest insistence, gentlemen; I ply him, I say, and dun him for his witnesses. In the present case I am expending more pains and energy in making the prosecution produce their witnesses than counsel for the defence usually expend in cross-examining them. I say this confidently, gentlemen ; I do not make my assertions without book. Gaul is packed with traders, crammed with Roman citizens. No Gaul ever does business independently of a citizen of Rome ; not a penny changes hands in Gaul without the transaction being recorded in the books of Roman citizens. [12] Mark my condescension, gentlemen, and how far I am departing from my customary habits of caution and exactitude. Let one single account be produced in which there is a single hint indicating that money has been given to Fonteius; let them bring forward the evidence of one single trader, colonist, tax-farmer, agriculturist, or grazier out of all the inhabitants ; and I will grant that the charge is a true one.

In heaven's name, what a case is this, and how strange a task for defendant's counsel! Marcus Fonteius was in charge of the province of Gaul, which comprises a type of men and communities which (to say nothing of ancient times) have either within our own memory waged long and bitter wars with the people of Rome, or have been quite recently subdued by our generals, subjugated in war, brought to notice by the triumphs and memorials of which their conquest has been the occasion, and have lately had their lands and cities made forfeit by the senate ; in some cases they have met in armed encounter with Marcus Fonteius himself, and have, at cost of much strenuous effort to him, been brought beneath the power and dominion of the Roman people. [13] In this same province is the town of Narbo Martius, ** a citizen-colony, which stands as a watch-tower and bulwark of the Roman people, and a barrier of defence against these tribes which I have mentioned ; there is also the city of Massilia, to which I have already alluded, inhabited by brave and faithful allies, who have found in the resources and rewards of the Roman people a recompense for the dangers they have run in our Gallic wars ; there is moreover a large body of highly respected Roman citizens. [6.] L   Of this province with its heterogeneous population Marcus Fonteius, as I said just now, was appointed governor. Those who were our enemies he subdued; those who had recently been so he evicted from the farms they had forfeited ; while from the remainder, who had been repeatedly conquered in great wars to the end that they might be made obedient for ever to the Roman people, he requisitioned large troops of cavalry to serve in the wars then being waged all over the world by the people of Rome, large sums of money to provide these with pay, and enormous quantities of corn to enable us to carry on the war in Spain. ** [14] The man who accomplished all this is summoned before your bar ; you, who took no part in the events, are, in concert with the Roman people, taking cognisance of the case; our opponents are the men who met these requisitions with the utmost reluctance; they are the men who were evicted from their farms by the decree of Gnaeus Pompeius ** ; they are the men who, having escaped from war, massacre, and rout, venture for the first time to face Marcus Fonteius now when he is unarmed. And what of the colonists of Narbo? What is their desire, their view in the matter? Their desire is that he should owe his deliverance to you, their view that it is to him they stand indebted for their own. And what of the community of Massilia? While he was with them they conferred upon him the highest distinctions they had to bestow; and now, from their distant abode, they beg and implore you that their sense of honour, their commendation, their influence may appear to have been not without weight in determining your attitude. [15] And our citizens of Rome, what are their sentiments? No one of that immense body but considers that my client has done signal service to his province, to the empire, to our allies, and to his fellow-citizens.

[7.] L   Since, therefore, you now perceive who are they who would have Marcus Fonteius assailed, and who would have him defended, you must now determine what it is that your sense of justice and the dignity of the Roman people demands - whether you prefer to rely upon the statements and to consult the welfare of your colonists, your trading interests, and your most attached and ancient allies, or of men who by their animosity have forfeited all claim to your trust and by their disloyalty all claim to your respect. [16] If, furthermore, I can produce a still more numerous array of unimpeachable persons ready and able to attest my client's virtue and innocence, shall none the less the common judgement of Gauls prevail over that of men of the very highest authority ? You are aware, gentlemen, that at the time when Fonteius was governor of Gaul there were in the two Spains large armies of the Roman people commanded by illustrious generals. How many were the Roman knights, how many the military tribunes, how many, how frequent, how eminent were the delegations that visited these armies! What is more, a large and splendid army commanded by Gnaeus Pompeius wintered in Gaul during Marcus Fonteius's tenure of power. Does it not seem that fortune herself designed that there should be witnesses adequate both in quantity and quality ready to attest by personal knowledge what was done in Gaul when Marcus Fonteius was praetor? "Who is there of all this body whom you ** can cite as witness in the present trial? Who is there of all this body whom you will accept as an authority? Him we will at once use as our witness and our panegyrist. [17] And will you have any further misgivings, gentlemen, of the absolute truth of the suggestion I made to you at the outset, that the sole motive behind these proceedings is that, when Marcus Fonteius has been overwhelmed by the evidence of men who deeply resent the requisitions made upon them in the public interest, his successors may hereafter be disinclined to make such requisitions in view of the possibility of attacks being made upon them by men whose victory could result only in the insecurity of the empire of the Roman people ?

[8.] L   It is further alleged against Marcus Fonteius that he has made profits from the construction of roads, exacting a price either for not demanding their construction, or for not condemning those already constructed. If it is a fact that all states were compelled to construct, and also that in many cases the works were condemned, then it is obvious that both charges are false - the charge that exemptions were sold, because no exemptions were given, and the charge that the work was passed, because in several instances it was not passed. [18] But suppose we should be able to shift this imputation to the account of excellent persons, and that not in order to transfer culpability to others, but to prove that the men in charge of this road-construction are men who are well able to show that their duty was satisfactorily performed ; will you still believe evidence dictated by rancour, and heap all the blame upon Marcus Fonteius? He, finding himself embarrassed by more urgent affairs of state, when it was a matter of state-interest that the Via Domitia should be constructed, entrusted the business to Gaius Annius Bellienus and Gaius Fonteius his lieutenants, men of the highest character. Accordingly they superintended it, giving such orders as seemed to them in their official capacity to be desirable, and expressing their satisfaction with the work. You have had the opportunity of learning this, if from no other source, at any rate from our letters, either sent or received, which you have had written out ** ; and if you have not previously read these, hear me read what Fonteius wrote to his legates in this matter, and what they wrote in reply.

{ The letters sent to Gaius Annius the legate and to Gaius Fonteius the legate, and those received from Gaius Annius the legate and from Gaius Fonteius the legate, are read. }

[19] I think it is sufficiently clear, gentlemen, both that this question of the road-construction is no concern of Marcus Fonteius, and also that it was dealt with by men who are quite beyond censure.

[9.] L   Let us turn now to the charge with reference to wine, a charge intended by our opponents to be the most important and the most damaging of all. The terms in which the charge has been stated by Plaetorius are as follows : it was not in Gaul that Marcus Fonteius first conceived the idea of imposing a transit-duty ** on wine, but the plan was suggested to him in Italy before he left Rome. Accordingly it is alleged that Titurius exacted at Tolosa four denarii on every amphora of wine under the head of transit-duty ; that at Crodunum Porcius and Munius exacted three victoriati ** ; while at Vulchalo Servaeus exacted two victoriati; also that in these districts transit-duty was exacted from any who turned aside at Cobiomachus (a village between Tolosa and Narbo), not wishing to proceed to Tolosa ; and that at Elesioduli they exacted six denarii on each amphora from those who conveyed wine to the enemy. [20] I realise, gentlemen, that this is a grave charge - grave not only in its actual nature - for it is alleged that a tax has been imposed on our produce, and I admit that vast sums might have been raised by this method - but grave also in the odium it must arouse ; for our enemies have done their best to spread this imputation by common talk as widely as possible. But, in my opinion, the heinousness of the outrage committed by the inventor of a charge which is proved to be false is great in proportion to the gravity of the offence alleged ; for by the very enormity of the charge he aims at so hypnotising the minds of his hearers as to leave but a difficult access to the truth hereafter.

{ Here follows matter ** dealing with the charge of the wine-dues, the war with the Vocontii, and the arrangement of winter-quarters. }

[10.] L   [21] "But," our opponents allege, "the Gauls deny this." But the circumstances of the case and the compelling nature of the arguments prove it. Is it possible, then, for a juryman to refuse belief to witnesses? To refuse belief to witnesses who are interested or prejudiced, who have entered into a conspiracy or who are devoid of scruple, is more than possible; it is obligatory. For indeed if Marcus Fonteius must be assumed to be guilty merely because the Gauls assert him to be so, what need, pray, for a wise jury, an impartial president, an advocate not without intelligence ? The Gauls assert it; it is no good our denying. If you think it to be the duty of a clever, experienced, and impartial juryman to think that a statement must be unhesitatingly believed just because witnesses assert it, then the goddess of Salvation herself cannot protect the innocence of a brave gentleman. But if in the determination of a verdict you consider the sagacity of a juryman to find its chief scope in the scrutiny of every circumstance and the weighing of it by its inherent importance, then bethink you whether your function as critics is not a far graver and more momentous one than my own as pleader. [22] My task in every case is to question a witness upon each point not merely once only, but also briefly - often, indeed, to abstain from questioning him, so as not to give passion the opportunity of utterance or to seem to attach weight to self-interest. You are in a position repeatedly to revolve a point in your minds and to give prolonged consideration to the evidence of a single witness ; and, if we have shown reluctance to cross-examine, it is for you to infer a motive for our silence. If therefore you think that a juryman has either a legal or a moral obligation to believe witnesses, then there can be no reason for judging one juryman to be better or wiser than another. For the judgement of the ear is single and it is simple, and has been bestowed by nature upon both wise and foolish with indiscriminate universality. [23] What scope then has sagacity for display, or how can the mere unreflecting and uncritical listener be distinguished from the scrupulous and sagacious juryman? Surely on occasions when the depositions of a witness are submitted to scrutiny and reflection which determines the authority, the impartiality, the honour, the faith, the conscientiousness, the regard for reputation, the care, and the scrupulous reverence with which those depositions are made. [11.] L   Or will you, gentlemen, in dealing with the evidence of barbarians, show hesitation, whereas frequently, within the recollection both of ourselves and of our fathers, the wisest of juries, in regard to the most eminent citizens of our own country, thought that there should be no hesitation? They refused belief to evidence given by Gnaeus and Quintus Caepio and by Lucius and Quintus Metellus against Quintus Pompeius, ** the first of his family to hold office ; for though virtuous, noble, and illustrious in action, their credibility and authority as witnesses was impaired by a suspicion of animus and self-interest. [24] Is there a man whom we have seen or whom we can truly name as the peer in discretion, dignity, and strength of will, and all other great qualities, er in the distinctions of a great career, a brilliant intellect, and splendid achievements, of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus ** ? Yet he, who unsworn well-nigh controlled the earth by his nod, had no belief accorded to his sworn evidence against Gaius Fimbria and Gaius Memmius. Those who sat in judgement were unwilling that private enmity should be afforded in the witness-box an open road to ruin the object of individual hatred. Who is there who does not know the sense of honour, the ability, the influence that marked Lucius Crassus ? None the less, a man whose very conversation had all the impressiveness of evidence, could not, when he spoke from the witness-box, render plausible the statements that dislike prompted him to utter against Marcus Marcellus. [25] Yes, gentlemen, the jurymen of those days were inspired with a lofty and sublime conception of their duty ; the verdict they gave was, they thought, not a verdict upon the defendant alone, but upon the prosecutor and upon the witness ; they had to determine the inventions of falsehood, the contributions of chance or opportunism, the corruptions of bribery, the distortions of hope or fear, the promptings of self-interest or of hatred. If the juryman does not embrace all this in his deliberation, does not earnestly and intelligently view it from every side, if he assumes that all that is spoken from the witness-box is the utterance of an oracle, then assuredly, as I said before, any man who is not deaf will be amply qualified to fulfil the office and the function of juryman. There will be no earthly reason why the responsibility of giving a verdict should demand some paragon of wisdom and wide experience.

[12.] L   [26] Or had those great knights of Rome whom our eyes beheld, and who of late maintained a proud position in our political and judicial life, sufficient courage and resolution to refuse belief to the evidence of Marcus Scaurus ; and are you afraid to disbelieve the testimony of Volcae and Allobroges ? If it was wrong to disbelieve evidence prompted by enmity, was Crassus a more bitter enemy of Marcellus or Scaurus of Fimbria, by reason of political partisanship and private rancour, than the Gauls are to my client ? Even those of them who stand in the most favourable position have been compelled time and time again, and most often sorely against their will, to provide cavalry, corn, and money ; while all the rest have either forfeited their lands as a result of ancient war or have been by my client himself overpowered and crushed in war. [27] If it is illogical to believe those whose statements appear to be actuated by a self interested desire for some personal gain, are we to take it that the Caepiones and the Metelli stood to gain more highly from the condemnation of Quintus Pompeius, which would have meant the removal of the thwarter of all their schemes, than all the Gauls hoped for from the downfall of Marcus Fonteius, on which that province believed that its immunity and freedom almost depended?

If, on the other hand, it is proper to consider the characters of individuals (and this surely must be of the highest importance in a witness), is any the most honourable native of Gaul to be set on the same level with even the meanest citizen of Rome, let alone with the highest men of our commonwealth ? Does Indutiomarus ** know what is meant by giving evidence ? When he is brought into the witness-box, is he affected by that sense of awe from which none of us is exempt? [13.] L   [28] Remind yourselves, gentlemen, what anxious pains you are wont to bestow not merely upon the matter of your utterances as witnesses, but even upon the words you use, for fear lest any should seem to stand in a position of undue stress, or to have slipped from you in a moment of heat. Even as to your face you take pains that no suspicion of self-interested motives should be suggested therein, in order that, both when you enter the witness-box there may be a sort of silent judgement formed as to your modesty and good faith and that, when you leave, it may seem to have been maintained and confirmed to the letter. [29] These, doubtless, ** are the very fears and thoughts which Indutiomarus entertained when he gave his evidence - but, in the first place, that phrase of wholesome discretion which we are accustomed to employ - the phrase "I think" - used by us when we give utterance even on oath to statements of ascertained fact of which we have been eye-witnesses, that phrase had no place in all his evidence; in every case he said "I know"! Yes, for he was palpably afraid lest he should forfeit some of his reputation in your eyes and those of the Roman people, afraid of the tale going round, "To think of a man like Indutiomarus making such partial, such wild statements" ; but he failed to see that there was nothing which he was bound to furnish either to his own citizens or to our prosecutors in his evidence except his voice, his impudence, and his effrontery. [30] Or do you think that nations like that are influenced, when they give evidence, by the sanctity of an oath or by the fear of the immortal gods, differing so widely from all other nations as they do in habits and in character? Other nations wage wars in defence of their religion, they do so against the religion of every people; others in waging war entreat the favour and the pardon of the immortal gods, they wage war against the immortal gods themselves. [14.] L   These are the tribes ** which in old days set forth upon a far journey from their homes and came to the oracle of the Pythian Apollo at Delphi, the resort of the whole world, to harry and to despoil. It was these same tribes of upright and punctilious oath-regarders who beset the Capitol ** and the temple of that Jove with whose name our ancestors chose to seal their plighted troth. [31] Finally, can anything appear holy or sacrosanct to men who, if ever they are so worked upon by some fear as to deem it necessary to placate the gods, defile the altars and temples o those gods with human victims, so that they cannot even practise religion without first violating that very religion with crime ? For who does not know that to this very day they retain the monstrous and barbarous custom of sacrificing men? What then, think you, is the honour, what the piety, of those who even think that the immortal gods can best be appeased by human crime and bloodshed? And is it to such witnesses as these that you propose to attribute your own religious sentiments? Is it from these that you will look for upright or circumspect speech ? [32] Is this a responsibility which your pure and honest hearts will undertake, that while all our legates who had visited Gaul for the preceding three years, all Roman knights who had been in that province, all traders settled there, and, in a word, all in Gaul who are the allies and friends of the Roman people, have the security of Marcus Fonteius at heart and both officially and unofficially give him their sworn commendation, - that you none the less choose rather to join with Gauls in committing murder? And what would you be thought to have followed ? Is it men's wishes? Shall the wishes of your enemies weigh more with you than those of your fellow-citizens ? Is it the respectability of the witnesses ? Can you then bring yourselves to prefer men of whom you know nothing to men whom you know, the prejudiced to the dispassionate, the foreigner to your own countrymen, the interested to the judicious, the hireling to the unrewarded, the unscrupulous to the conscientious, and the bitterest foes of our empire and our name to true and loyal allies and citizens ?

[15.] L   [33] Can you hesitate to believe, gentlemen, that it is a blood-feud which is cherished and which is waged by all those tribes against the name of the Roman people? Do you think that as they stand here, cloaked and breeched, ** theirs is the meek submissive mood customary to the victims of outrage who, as humble lieges, appeal for aid to a jury ? Nothing could be further from the truth. Nay, with proud and unflinching mien they stroll from end to end of the forum, with vague threats and uncouth barbarian menaces upon their lips - a thing which I could never have believed, had I not heard the prosecutors themselves, as indeed you also heard them, gentlemen, when they warned you to have a care lest the acquittal of my clients should kindle some new war in Gaul. [34] If Marcus Fonteius, gentlemen, had not a leg to stand upon in the case; if, after a sullied youth and a life of scandal, he were arraigned before the court convicted by the testimony of good men and true of misconduct in the offices he has exercised before your eyes and of gross misbehaviour in his service as legate, and were hated by all his acquaintance; and if in the trial he were crushed beneath a load of incriminating evidence and documents brought against him by the Narbonese colonists of the Roman people, by our trusty allies of Massilia, and by all the citizens of Rome - even so it would be your duty carefully to guard against letting it appear that men whom your fathers and forefathers left so stricken as to be contemptible had been able to arouse your fears and work upon you by their threats and intimidations. [35] But as it is, since no true man assails, but all your citizens and your allies applaud him; since he is attacked by those who have repeatedly attacked this city and this empire; and since the enemies of Marcus Fonteius threaten you and the people of Rome, while his friends and relatives are your suppliants ; will you hesitate to show not only to your fellow-citizens, who are influenced above all by glory and honour, but to foreign tribes and nations, that in giving your votes you have preferred to spare a citizen rather than to submit to a foe ?

[16.] L   [36] And, among all the motives that should lead you to acquittal, this, assuredly, is not the least, gentlemen, that no grave stain of ignominy fall upon this empire, should intelligence be conveyed to Gaul that the senate and knights of the Roman people, influenced not by the evidence of the Gauls but by their threats, have let the will and pleasure of that nation determine their verdict. And if this is indeed so, we shall be constrained, should they attempt to make war upon us, to summon up from the shades Gaius Marius, ** to be a fair match in combat to Indutiomarus with his menaces and his arrogance, to summon up Gnaeus Domitius ** and Quintus Maximus, to crush and overwhelm once more by their arms the Allobroges and the other tribes; or, since that may not be, we shall have to beg my friend Marcus Plaetorius to deter his latest clients from making war upon us, and to use his entreaties to mitigate the anger of their hearts and the horror of their onslaught ; or, should he fail in this, we shall beg his junior, Marcus Fabius, to assuage the wrath of the Allobroges, since the Fabian name is one to conjure with among that people, and to induce them either to remain quiet, as is customary with conquered and subdued nations, or, when they threaten, to realise that it is not the fear of war, but the hope of triumph that they are holding out to the Roman people.

[37] And if it were intolerable, even were the defendant some despicable fellow, that they should think their threats had achieved aught, how should you behave, think you, when your defendant is Marcus Fonteius, one against whom - for I think I have every right to say this now that I have all but concluded my pleading in two trials ** - one against whom you have heard even from the mouths of his enemies no false reproach, let alone any scandalous charge ? Was ever defendant - above all one who moved in such a sphere as my client, a candidate for office, a holder of authority, a wielder of command, - was ever defendant thus accused ? - no scandal, no deed of violence, no immorality born of lust, insolence, or effrontery, laid to his charge by the prosecution, if not with truth, at least with some plausible and suspicious circumstances to support their fictions ?

[17.] L   [38] We know that Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, ** most eminent of our countrymen, was accused by Marcus Brutus. The speeches are extant, and from these it may be gathered that many charges were levelled against Scaurus's personal character - falsely, without doubt, yet levelled and alleged by his opponent they were, How numerous were the indictments to which Manius Aquilius had to listen in his trial ! or Lucius Cotta ! or Publius Rutilius ** ! the last of whom, condemned though he was, seems to me worthy of a place among the best and most irreproachable of men. Yes, that model of uprightness and continence heard laid to his charge much that implied suspicion of adulterous and licentious conduct. [39] There is extant a speech delivered by one who was, in my opinion, by far the ablest and most eloquent of our fellow-countrymen, Gaius Gracchus ; and in this speech he insinuates many base and scandalous actions against Lucius Piso. ** And what a man was his victim ! - one who displayed such virtue and integrity, that, even in those great days when it was impossible to find a worthless character, he alone was called the Honest {Frugi}. When Gracchus ordered that he should be summoned before the assembled people, and when the attendant asked which Piso (for there were several who bore the name), he remarked, "You force me to say - My opponent, Piso the Honest." Yes, the man whom even his enemy could not sufficiently indicate without praising, whose bare surname alone declared not only his identity but his character, was yet called upon to meet a false and unjust charge of scandalous conduct. [40] Marcus Fonteius has been arraigned in two trials without anything being alleged against him from which the slightest taint of licentious, headstrong, cruel, or unscrupulous conduct can be inferred. So far from adducing any crime that he has committed, they have not even laid hold of any word of his as blameworthy.

[18.] L   If their courage in mendacity or their ingenuity in invention were but proportionate to their eagerness to work his downfall or their recklessness in abusing him, then Fonteius would have been no better off, as regards immunity from scandalous attack, than those whom I have just mentioned. It is an honest man, therefore, honest, I say, moderate and self-controlled in every detail of his life, a model of honour, of devotion to duty, and of conscientiousness, whom you see placed here under your protection and in your power - yes, solemnly entrusted to your protection, placed absolutely in your power.

[41] Ask yourselves, then, whether it is more just that an honourable man, a gallant gentleman, and a patriotic citizen should be given over to hostile and insensible barbarians or given back to his friends, especially when there are so many circumstances which appeal to your sympathies and urge the acquittal of my innocent client. There is first the antiquity of his family, springing, as we know, from the illustrious municipality of Tusculum, upon the records of whose history it is conspicuously engraved ; there is next an unbroken series of praetorships held by that family, distinguished by general brilliance of achievement, but above all by the spotless character they bear before the world ; there is thirdly the still recent memory of his father, the stain of whose blood has dyed with the hues of crime not only that Asculan ** troop by whom he was slain, but the whole of that war with our allies; there is, finally, my client himself, honourable and upright in every department of life, endowed, as a soldier, with the highest prudence and the loftiest courage, and skilled, as are few men in the present age, in all the problems of practical warfare.

[19.] L   [42] Wherefore, gentlemen, if you need, too, any reminder from me (as indeed you do not), I think that I may, in a modest way, as far as I carry any weight, enjoin upon you to keep carefully in your service men of this description, whose valour, energy, and good fortune in warfare have been weighed and not found wanting. In time past there was a greater abundance of such men in our commonwealth than to-day ; yet though this was so, not only their safety but also their honour was regarded. And to-day how should you act, now that the profession of arms has fallen out of fashion among our youth ; when our best men and our greatest generals have been wasted either by age or by civil dissension and public calamity ; when wars so numerous are either unavoidably undertaken by us, or sprung upon us with unforeseen suddenness? Do you not think you should retain this man himself against our nation's doubtful hour, while at the same time you kindle his fellow-countrymen to the pursuit of honour and virtue? [43] Recollect the legates recently employed in war in the service of Lucius Julius, of Publius Rutilius, of Lucius Cato, and of Gnaeus Pompeius ; you will learn that among the past masters of warfare holding praetorian rank at that time were Marcus Cornutus, Lucius Cinna, and Lucius Sulla, not to mention Gaius Marius, Publius Didius, Quintus Catulus, and Publius Crassus, men who gained their military knowledge not from text-books but from their operations and their victories. And now, if you please, cast your eyes over the senate-house, and scan deeply every department of public life; can you not conceive the possibility of circumstances arising when there may be a call for such men as this; or, should such circumstances arise, do you think that the Roman people is particularly rich in such men? View carefully these considerations, gentlemen, and you will assuredly prefer to retain at home in the service of yourselves and your children a man so tireless in the toils of war, so valiant in the face of its perils, so skilled in its theory and its practice, so wise in its strategy, so fortunate in its accidents and its chances, rather than to resign him to the tender mercies of cruel tribesmen who are the bitterest foes of the Roman people.

[20.] L   [44] But Gaul is, as it were, mustering her battalions against Marcus Fonteius, launching and pressing home against him a virulent and unscrupulous assault. I know it, gentlemen; but behind various and redoubtable defences we shall, with your assistance, defy this savage and unconscionable assault of barbarism. Your first outwork against their attack is Macedonia, a province loyal in friendship with the Roman people, which, declaring that itself and its cities owe their preservation to the brawn, as well as to the brain, of Marcus Fonteius, repels the threatening assaults of the Gauls from his head, even as it was itself defended by him from the devastating inroads of the Thracians. [45] Ranged upon the other wing is Further Spain, which assuredly is able not only to oppose its loyalty to the wild ambition of our foe, but also by its testimonies and panegyrics to refute the perjuries of scoundrels. What is more, even from Gaul itself we draw loyal and potent reinforcements. Help comes to this unhappy and innocent gentleman in the shape of the entire community of Massilia, which not only strives to exhibit due gratitude to my client to whom it owes its preservation, but also believes that the obligation and the destiny imposed upon it by its geographical situation is to protect our fellow-countrymen from molestation at the hands of those tribes. [46] At its side to do battle for Marcus Fonteius stands the colony of Narbo, which, freed but recently by my client's aid from beleaguering foes, is to-day stirred to its depths by his parlous plight. Finally - as is right in a war with Gaul, and as the principles and practice of our ancestors prescribe - there is no citizen of Rome who deigns to resort to any excuse, but all the tax-collectors, farmers, stock-raisers, and traders of the province rally with one heart and one voice to the defence of Marcus Fonteius.

[21.] L   If Indutiomarus himself, leader of the Allobroges and all the Gauls, should despise forces so powerful gathered to aid us, shall he drag and tear my client even from the embrace of that peerless though unhappy lady his mother, while you raise no finger to stay him? Shall he do so, though upon the other side a Vestal Virgin casts her arms about the brother of her blood, imploring your protection, gentlemen, and that of the Roman people? She has devoted so many years to propitiating the immortal gods on behalf of you and your children, that she may well to-day propitiate your hearts when she appeals on behalf of herself and her brother. [47] What protection, what comfort is left to the poor lady, if he is taken from her? Other women can bear protectors for themselves; they can have at their own homes a companion and a participant in all life's chances ; but to this maiden what can be dear or delightful save her brother? Suffer it not, gentlemen, that the altars of the immortal gods and of Mother Vesta should by the daily lamentations of their Virgin be put in mind of your tribunal ; have a care lest it be said that the undying fire guarded by Fonteia's sleepless toil through the watches of the night has been quenched by the tears of your priestess. [48] To you a Vestal Virgin extends in supplication the same hands which she has been accustomed to extend to the immortal gods on your behalf. Bethink you of the peril that lies in wait for such pride, if you should be deaf to the appeal of one, the rejection of whose supplication by the gods would dissolve the fabric of our daily lives. Do you mark, gentlemen, how Marcus Fonteius, brave man though he be, has at my allusion to his parent and his sister broken into sudden tears ? Never has he flinched upon the field, often has he dashed into the thickest of the fray fighting sword in hand against fearful odds, thinking, as he faced such dangers, that he left behind the same solace to his dear ones as his father had left to him. Yet he to-day flinches, for his mind is clouded with a doubt lest, far from lending aid and honour to his own, he may even leave to his hapless loved ones undying dishonour and ignominy that shall wring their hearts with sorrow. [49] O how unlike to this would have been your fate, Marcus Fonteius, could you have made election that it were better to perish by the weapons of the Gauls than by their perjuries? Then would Valour have been your companion in life, and Honour your comrade in death; but now what anguish is yours ! - to bow beneath the bludgeoning of domineering triumph inflicted by the pleasure of those who were either vanquished by your arms or who submitted with reluctance to your rule.


1.(↑)   Enacted (86) the reduction of existing debts to one-fourth.

2.(↑)   When H. on the public account made a payment of one-fourth of a debt, he would enter it as a payment of the whole debt; but in order to keep the accounts straight, he must also enter three-fourths of the amount on the other side"' (Long).

3.(↑)   H. was probably quaestor in 86, the year in which the Lex Valeria was enacted. C. is here discussing whether Fonteius, when quaestor, made disbursements from the treasury in the proper manner.

4.(↑)   A tribe of Southern Gaul.

5.(↑)   Either 'triumvir coloniis deducendis' or 'triumvir monetalis'.

6.(↑)   Doubtful readings; the text appears to be corrupt.

7.(↑)   Quoted by Quintilian as an example of double entente ; 'magister' may mean either "schoolmaster" or "bailiff." See Quint. vi. 3. 51.

8.(↑)   Narbonne.

9.(↑)   Against Sertorius, 80-79.

10.(↑)   Probably because of opposition offered by them to P.'s march to Spain, 76.

11.(↑)   Here C. turns to the counsel for the prosecution.

12.(↑)   i.e., the prosecution had demanded copies of them.

13.(↑)   'Portorium', ordinarily custom-duty on imports or exports; in this case, according to Mommsen, a duty on imported Italian wine not levied at the port of Narbo, but on the roads which led thence into the province and its adjacent regions.

14.(↑)   Silver coin worth half a denarius, stamped with the figure of Victory.

15.(↑)   Probably matter purely technical omitted by C. from the version of the speech published after delivery.

16.(↑)   Charged with extortion, 138, and acquitted.

17.(↑)   Cos. 123; served as legate to Bestia in war with Jugurtha (111); was with others prosecuted, at the instance of Memmius, for bribery, but escaped by getting himself appointed on the commission which was to inquire into the matter.

18.(↑)   Chieftain of the Allobroges.

19.(↑)   Credo, as usual, indicates irony,

20.(↑)   Brennus and his Galli, about 279.

21.(↑)   390, when Rome was sacked.

22.(↑)   i.e., in their national dress. Transalpine Gaul was often called Gallia Braccata.

23.(↑)   Defeated Cimbri and Teutones, 109.

24.(↑)   Cn. D. defeated Allobroges 192, Q. M. (Fabius) 121.

25.(↑)   There had probably been a 'comperendinatio' or adjournment of the earlier hearing of the case.

26.(↑)   Four celebrated trials for extortion are alluded to here, that of Scaurus (91), Aquilius (98 ?), Cotta (131), Rutilius (92).

27.(↑)   Attacked G.'s Lex Frumentaria (123).

28.(↑)   The first act of the Social War (91) was the massacre of Caepio, a proconsul, and Fonteius, his lieutenant.

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