Cicero : Pro Plancio

Sections 1-57

This speech was delivered for Cn. Plancius, in 54 B.C.

The translation is by N.H. Watts (1928). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section. Click on ** to go to the translator's footnotes.

1 [1.] L   When I saw so many patriotic gentlemen eagerly supporting the candidature of Gnaeus Plancius on account of the remarkable and exceptional loyalty he displayed towards me at a time of great personal danger, it gave me considerable pleasure to reflect that the memory of that crisis in my life was enlisted in favour of one whose services had been the means to my preservation. But when I heard that this accusation was being forwarded by those who were either enemies or detractors of myself, so that the same connexion which had aided my client in his pursuit of office was like to harm him when he was on his trial, I was grieved and bitterly disappointed, gentlemen, to think that his safety should be endangered simply and solely because my own safety, nay, my very life, had been secured by his goodwill and vigilant protection. [2] But at the present moment, gentlemen, the sight of you assembled here bids me take fresh heart of grace; for as I scan with careful eye each several member of the court, I see that there is no one of you who has not had my safety at heart, who has not laid me under the deepest obligations, and to whom I am not bound by the ineffaceable recollection of benefits received. I am, therefore, without any apprehension that Gnaeus Plancius' watchful care over my safety should prejudice him in the eyes of men who themselves earnestly desired my restitution, and the sentiment which haunts me is rather surprise that Marcus Laterensis, who has been so solicitous for my honour and my safety, ** should have selected my client of all men for his attack, than fear lest you should decide that he has had cogent reasons for the course he has adopted. [3] Not, gentlemen, that I have so good a conceit of myself as to presume to fancy that my client's services to myself entitle him to exemption from all prosecution. If I fail to demonstrate to you the utter incorruptibility of his life, and the self-control that guides his actions, his unswerving devotion to honour and high principles, and the disinterested loyalty that animates all his relations, I shall take no exception to any penalty you may impose. But if I show him to be possessed of all those qualities which are to be looked for in a gentleman and a patriot, then, gentlemen, I shall ask you to bestow your clemency, at my intercession, upon one who by his own clemency shielded and succoured myself. The labours involved in my present advocacy are already greater than those of the general run of cases; but I must go beyond these, and take upon myself the further burden of speaking, not only on behalf of Gnaeus Plancius, whose safety I am in duty bound to protect no less carefully than my own, but also on behalf of myself, for our opponents have said almost more about me than about my client and his case. [2.] L   [4] But, gentlemen, if any criticism has been passed upon myself in which he is not involved, that does not greatly trouble me. Gratitude is the rarest of human qualities, and I have no fear, therefore, lest the imputation of excessive gratitude to my client should be converted into a damaging charge against me. But there are two theories which our opponents have actively canvassed, and with which it is my duty to deal: first, that the services rendered to me by Gnaeus Plancius have been less than I made them out to be; and second, that, were they never so great, they ought nevertheless to have no such great weight with you as I might suppose them to have. In dealing with them I must walk warily, that I may myself be void of offence; and I must not deal with them at all until I have replied to the actual charges, that it may not appear that the case for the defence relies rather upon the recollection of my own crisis than upon my client's innocence.

[5] The case, gentlemen, is simple and straightforward enough, but the lines of defence open to me are fraught with difficulties and pitfalls. If, in the first place, I were called upon merely to attack Laterensis, this course would in itself be an affront to our old associations of cordial friendship. Complete unity of aim is the traditional condition of genuine and sincere friendship, and this has been the relation in which I have for long stood towards my opponent ; and indeed there is no surer bond of friendship than the sympathetic union of thought and inclination. But although it is painful for me to choose the course of attacking my friend, it is still more painful that the case in which I am called upon to do so is one in which a comparison of individual qualities seems to be inevitable. [6] For there is one question which Laterensis propounds, and for an answer to which he presses with peculiar urgency ; it is the question by what moral qualities, by what superiority in distinction or reputation, Plancius surpasses himself. Consequently, if I yield the palm to my opponent' endowments (and they are beyond question many and great), I must not merely jettison my client's honour, but I must lay myself open to the suspicion of corrupt collusion; if, on the other hand, I put the claims of my client before those of my friend, my speech must be devoted to vituperation, and I must state, since he importunes me for an answer, that the merits of Laterensis are surpassed by those of Plancius. So I am faced with the alternative of either damaging the reputation of a dear friend, if I pursue the line to which his speech has prompted me, or of betraying the cause of one to whom I am under a deep obligation.

[3.] L   But if I, Laterensis, assert that in point of reputation you may have been surpassed by Plancius, or indeed by any one, I should virtually confess myself guilty of blind precipitancy in my conduct of the case. ** Avoiding, therefore, the comparison to which you challenge me, I shall have recourse to another, which lies directly in my path. [7] I ask you, do you consider the people to be competent critics of the merits of their magistrates ? Sometimes no doubt they are. Would that they always were! But on rare occasions they are competent, and those occasions arise when they fill by their election those offices to which they consider that their safety is being entrusted." But in the less important elections, with which we are dealing now, success is won by the personal efforts and popularity of the candidates, and not by the possession of those endowments which so patently belong to you. For in popular politics, he who is actuated either by prejudice or by partisanship will always be but a partial judge of merit; not that I would admit, Laterensis, that you can lay claim to a monopoly of any distinction which Plancius does not share with you.

[8] I shall treat of this matter in its entirety elsewhere ; for the present I am dealing solely with the right of the people, who are both empowered and frequently accustomed to pass by men of merit ; and it does not follow that if a candidate has been passed over by the people, who ought not to have been so passed over, he who has not been passed over ought to be condemned by a jury. For if this were so, our juries would virtually possess a power which in the days of our ancestors the patricians were unable to retain, the power of passing their censure upon the elections ; or they would possess a power even more intolerable, for in the old days the man who had been elected to an office did not enter upon it if the patricians withheld their assent; whereas what is demanded of you to-day is that, by your condemnation of the people's choice, you should pass a stricture upon the people's wisdom. So, since I have entered into the case by a door by which I was reluctant to enter it, I think I have nevertheless a hope that, so far from incurring the least suspicion of wounding your susceptibilities by my speech, I shall rather take you to task for submitting your merits to an invidious ordeal than endeavour to taint them by any disparaging reference.

[4.] L   [9] Do you consider that when you failed to be elected aedile, your self-control, your energy, your patriotism, your courage, your integrity, your honour, and your devotion to duty were thereby frustrated, ignored, and tossed aside with scorn? Mark, I pray you, Laterensis, how far I disagree with you, if such be your opinion. I protest that, were there but ten only among our citizens who, with sound political views and endowed with wisdom, justice, and sobriety, had counted you unworthy of the aedileship, I should attach greater weight to such a pronouncement on you than to this, which you fear may seem to be a deliberate verdict passed by the people. Deliberate verdicts are not invariably arrived at in popular elections, which are often guided by partiality and swayed by prayers; the people promotes those who court it most assiduously ; and even if after all it does give a deliberate verdict, that verdict is determined, not by a discriminating wisdom, but frequently by impulse and a spirit of headstrong caprice. For the multitude is a stranger to deliberation, to reason, to discernment, and to patient scrutiny ; and all great thinkers have held that acquiescence, but not always approval, should be accorded to the acts of the people. Wherefore, in saying that you ought yourself to have been appointed aedile, you lay the blame upon the people, and not upon your opponent.

[10] Let us assume that your merit was greater than that of Plancius. I shall shortly join issue with you on this very point, without any disparagement to your reputation. However, granting this assumption, it is not the candidate who defeated you, but the people who passed you over, that is to blame. Herein you must bear in mind, first, that the elections, and above all those of the aediles, are the expression of the party feeling of the populace, not of their maturer judgement ; their votes are wheedled out of them, rather than honestly won ** ; the voters too often consider what they themselves owe to a particular candidate rather than what is due to him from the state. But should you prefer to consider the elections the expression of deliberate judgement, you must acquiesce in that expression, and not reverse it. [11] Its judgement was depraved, you say. Yes, but it was an undoubted judgement. It had no moral right so to judge. No, but it had a legal right. You refuse to acquiesce in it. But it has been acquiesced in in the past by many citizens of great distinction and wisdom. For it is the privilege of free peoples, and above all of this people, whose conquests have given it paramount sway over the whole world, that by its votes it can bestow or take away its offices as it likes. We too have our part to play ; tossed as we are upon the stormy billows of popular favour, we must bear contentedly with the people's will, win it to ourselves when it is estranged, grapple it to us when we have won it, and pacify it when it is in turmoil. If we set no great store by its awards, we are not called upon to do it homage ; but if we set our hearts upon them, we must not grow weary in courting its favour.

[5.] L   [12] Let me view the matter now from the standpoint of the people itself, and argue with you through its mouth rather than my own. Could it meet and hold discourse with you now, it would say, "I have not preferred Plancius to you, Laterensis, but, since there was no choice between you as good patriots, I chose to bestow my favours upon the man who importuned me for them, rather than upon the man who would not demean himself to the homage of a supple knee." I imagine that your answer would be that your reliance upon an ancient and illustrious lineage had led you to believe that an energetic canvass was unnecessary. But the people, on the other hand, would retort by reminding you of its established usage and ancestral precedent ; it would point out that it has always desired to be asked, and to be approached in suppliant guise; that it gave preference to Marcus Seius, who could not protect untarnished from the sentence of the courts the lustre even of his equestrian position, over the noble, incorruptible, and eloquent Marcus Piso; that to Quintus Catulus, in spite of his lofty birth, his great sagacity, and his exemplary character, it preferred, I will not say Gaius Serranus, for he, though a fool, was yet a noble, nor Gaius Fimbria, for he, though of a family unknown in public life, was yet endowed with considerable force of character and prudence - it preferred Gnaeus Manlius, who was not merely low-born, but low-principled, a man of no parts, whose life was degraded and despicable into the bargain. [13] "My eyes searched for you in vain," it says, " when you were at Cyrene. ** I had rather that the benefit of your virtues should be at my disposal than at that of my allies, and, when I saw you not, my sense of loss was bitter in proportion to the value to me of what I had lost ; and then, though I was athirst for your virtues, you abandoned me and left me to my own devices. You undertook your candidature for the tribunate of the plebs at a crisis ** which called out for eloquence and honesty such as yours ; if your abandonment of that candidature was an expression of your sense of inability to guide the helm of the state in such troubled waters, I had doubts of your capacity ; if it intimated your reluctance, I doubted of your patriotism ; but if, as I find it easier to believe, you did but reserve yourself for a later crisis, I too" - so the Roman people will say - "have recalled you to face that crisis with a view to which you had reserved yourself. Seek, then, an office wherein your services may be of great value to me ; whoever may be the aediles, the games ** organised for me are the same; but the personality of the tribunes of the plebs is a matter of paramount importance to me. Wherefore, either let me realise the hopes I once reposed in you, or, if your preference is for a course of meaner value to myself, I will bestow upon you that aedileship for which you apply so perfunctorily ; but, if you would attain to those high honours which your merit deserves, I suggest that you learn to do me a more earnest homage."

[6.] L   [14] This is the appeal of the people, Laterensis. But I would reason with you thus. It is not the duty of the president of the court ** to investigate the causes of your defeat, provided that it was not compassed by bribery. For if an elected magistrate is to be condemned upon all occasions when his fellow candidate has been undeservedly passed over, then there is no longer any reason why we should supplicate for popular favour, or why we should wait for the telling of the votes or the statement of the poll. I have but to read the list of candidates and I shall say, [15] "This man is of consular, that man of praetorian family ; I notice that the remainder belong to the equestrian order. The records of them all are untarnished ; all are equally good men and true, but the degrees must be maintained; so let the praetorian rank give place to the consular, and let not the equestrian order compete with the scion of a praetorian stock." Away with partisanship, have done with the hustings, let us have no more contested elections, no more freedom of the people to bestow offices, no more suspense to hear how the voting has gone; and you will find that the usual element of surprise will vanish, and the elections will lose the charm of their uncertainty. But if, on the other hand, it commonly happens that we are surprised at the election of some and the non-election of others; if, like the fathomless and infinite ocean, the troubled waters of the voting-place and the popular assemblies seethe with the impulse of inscrutable tides, so that here they lift and float a bark upon their bosom, and here strand another high and dry; shall we, amid the ebb and flow of party spirit and caprice, be disappointed that we cannot find therein system or deliberation or cool logic ?

[16] Do not, therefore, Laterensis, challenge me to institute a comparison between you. For if the people cherishes its privileges of voting by ballot, which allows a man to wear a smooth brow while it cloaks the secrets of his heart, and which leaves him free to act as he chooses, while he gives any promise he may be asked to give, why do you insist that the courts should determine what the hustings cannot? To say that one has greater merit than another is an exceedingly offensive way of putting it. How then may we put it more fairly? Surely thus: he was elected ; this statement goes straight to the heart of the matter, and is all the judge wishes to know. Why the defendant rather than myself, you ask? Perhaps I do not know ; perhaps I do not choose to say ; or perhaps I might suggest that he was elected by corrupt means - a suggestion most damaging to my client, but which ought not to endanger his chances in this court. But supposing I were to adopt so extreme a line of defence as to urge that the act of the people was prompted by caprice rather than conscience, how, pray, would you stand to gain by this ?

[7.] L   [17] But put the case that I justify even this act of the people, Laterensis, and demonstrate that Plancius, so far from insinuating himself into office, attained to it by a path which has for ever been open to those who, like myself, are born of equestrian families, can I by this means detach you from the comparison between yourself and my client which was the main topic of your speech, and which we cannot pursue without invidious personalities ? Can I pin you at last to the question at issue and the charge against Plancius? If the fact that he is the son of a Roman knight ought to have put him at a disadvantage to yourself, I would point out that your fellow - candidates were to a man sons of Roman knights. I will press the point no further; but I am surprised that you should have picked out for your resentment the candidate who most of all out-distanced you in the poll. If, as may very well happen, I am jostled in a crowd, I do not, when pushed near the arch of Fabius, ** accuse somebody standing at the top of the Sacred Way, but rather the man who violently collides against my own person. To point my moral, you do not vent your wrath upon the gallant Quintus Pedius, nor upon my accomplished friend Aulus Plotius ; but you choose to impute your humiliation to the man who pushed these out of his path, rather than to those who elbowed you personally.

[18] However, the first comparison you make between yourself and Plancius is in the matter of birth and family. Here (for why should I not frankly admit what is obvious ?) you have the better of him. But you have the better of him no more than my fellow candidates had the better of me, when I stood for the consulship and for other offices besides. And consider whether the very deficiencies which you despise in him did not help him. Let us look at it in this way. You are of consular rank both on your father's and your mother's side. Can you then hesitate to believe that your election to the aedileship was supported by all those who uphold the claims of birth, and who count it their chief pride that they do so, and by all those who are lured by the glamour of your ancestral busts ** and your impressive titles? Personally, I cannot doubt it. If, then, the lovers of birth are less numerous than you would have them, is my client to be blamed for that ?

But let us pursue this question of birth to the fountain-head.

[8.] L   [19] You are a native of the ancient municipium of Tusculum, ** which numbers among its inhabitants more families of consular rank (among them that of the Juventii) than all the other municipalities put together; while my client is from the prefecture of Atina, ** which is neither so ancient, nor so distinguished in its sons, nor so accessible from the city. What weight as regards electoral prospects would you wish to be assigned to this difference ? Which, in the first place, do you think are the more ardent supporters of their fellow townsmen - the people of Atina or those of Tusculum? The former (as I am enabled to know from being a near neighbour of theirs) showed intense delight when they saw the father of the excellent and distinguished Gnaeus Saturninus, who is with us in the court, appointed first aedile and then praetor, because he was the first to introduce the curule ** dignity not merely into his family, but into the prefecture ; while I have never gathered that the latter exhibit much enthusiasm over distinctions conferred upon their fellow-citizens. This, I imagine, is owing to the fact that ex-consuls elbow one another in their streets; I am confident that it is not to be imputed to lack of generosity. [20] Speaking for myself and my own township, I may certainly say that we exhibit these traits of public spirit. Need I refer to my own case or to that of my brother? I might almost say that our distinctions have been acclaimed by our very fields and hills. But do you ever see a Tusculan boasting of the great Marcus Cato, prince of all virtues, or of their fellow-townsman Tiberius Coruncanius, or of all the great who have borne the name of Fulvius? Never a word. But whenever you come across a man of Arpinum, you will have to listen, willy-nilly, to some fragment of gossip, possibly even about me, but certainly about Gaius Marius. So my client, in the first place, was backed by the ardent partisanship of his townsfolk, while yours backed you no more than was to be expected of men who are already surfeited with distinctions. [21] In the second place, your fellow-burgesses, highly distinguished though they undoubtedly are, are a mere handful compared with those of Atina; while my client's prefecture is packed with high-hearted gentlemen, in such numbers as cannot be demonstrably surpassed in any other in all Italy. You see them thronging this court to-day, gentlemen of the jury ; they have come in the garb and guise of mourners to appeal for your mercy. Must not so many Roman knights, so many tribunes of the treasury, ** - not to mention the proletariate, who were present to a man at the election, and who have been dismissed from this court, - must not all these have lent vast material and moral support to my client's candidature ? They brought him not, indeed, the Teretine ** tribe, of which I shall speak later, but they made him a figure of importance, the cynosure of all eyes, and enlisted for him a compact, vigorous, and indefatigable body of adherents. For neighbourly sympathy often provokes great displays of feeling in our municipal towns.

[9.] L   [22] All that I say about Plancius I say from personal experience ; for we at Arpinum ** are neighbours of the people of Atina. Neighbourliness is a quality that demands our commendation, nay, our love, for it keeps alive the old-world spirit of kindliness, it is uncoloured by the sinister hues of petty spite, it lives in no atmosphere of falsehood, it is tricked out by no hypocritical pretensions, it is unschooled in that studied counterfeiting of emotions characteristic of the suburbs and even of the city. There was no one at Arpinum, at Sora, at Casinum, at Aquinum, but was Plancius' adherent. Thickly-populated districts of Venafrum and Allifae, and, in a word, all our rugged countryside, which holds among its hills hearts loyal and unaffected and staunchly true to the bond of kinship, counted my client's distinction an honour, his promotion a compliment, to itself. Roman knights have come from these same townships and are here to-day to present their official testimony, and the suspense they feel for Plancius now is only equalled by their zeal for him then; for indeed deprivation of property ** is a more bitter fate than failure to win promotion to public office. [23] In those blessings which your ancestors had bequeathed to you, Laterensis, you outshone him, but, to balance this, Plancius conquered you in virtue of the loftier spirit that animated not only his township, but all the country round; unless, indeed, we are to suppose that you were assisted by your neighbours at Labicum or Gabii or Bovillae, communities which to-day can scarcely find envoys to send for their share of the victims at the Latin Festival. ** Let us add, if you will, to my client's advantages the fact that his father was a tax-farmer, a fact which you consider to be an actual slur upon him. Who does not know the value of the services of that profession in the pursuit of office? For the flower of the Roman knighthood, the ornament of our society and the backbone of our political life, is to be found among the body of tax-farmers. ** [24] Who, accordingly, will be so bold as to deny that its influence in forwarding Plancius' candidature was most marked? It was only right that it should have been so, whether we consider the fact that his father has, for some time, been a director of a tax-farming company, or that his partners were singularly attached to him, or that he was a most indefatigable canvasser, or that it was on a son's behalf that he courted the electorate, or that my client's own great services to the equestrian order during his quaestorship and tribunate were universally recognised, or that the members of that order thought that an honour paid to Plancius was an honour to their own body and a means of securing advancement for their children.

[10.] L   Some small contribution also - I mention the fact with diffidence, though mention it I must - was made even by myself, a contribution which took the form, not of material assistance or of invidious influence or of an odious personal ascendancy, but of adverting to the benefits he had conferred upon me, of awakening sympathetic interest, and of prayers in his behalf. I appealed to the people tribe by tribe; I demeaned myself to becoming a suppliant. My suit was unnecessary, for spontaneous offers and promises were heaped upon me. It was the motive of the plea, not the personality of the pleader, that carried weight; [25] and if a certain gentleman ** whose high standing entitled him to the concession of his every request failed, as you point out, to obtain his suit on behalf of one particular client ** , it does not necessarily follow that I am presumptuous, because I say that my efforts bore fruit. For, apart from the fact that the man on whose behalf I was exerting myself was not dependent upon external assistance, the mere solicitation of a vote always creates the most favourable impression, when it is most directly actuated by the claims of friendship. And indeed my own method of solicitation was such as to suggest that I was canvassing for him, not because he was my friend or my neighbour, nor because I had been on very intimate terms with his father, but rather because he was, in a sense, the only begetter and saviour of my life. It was no personal ascendancy, but the motive of my appeal, that won men's hearts. No one was glad at my restoration or grieved at my wrongs who did not feel gratitude to Plancius because he had shown me pity. [26] And if before my return men of sound views came forward on all hands and spontaneously offered their services to Plancius, can you believe that my presence and prayers availed him naught, when my name, even in my absence, was a recommendation to him? The colonists of Minturnae ** rescued Gaius Marius from those traitorous hands that lifted the sword against the state; they gave shelter and repose to his starved and storm-tossed limbs; they contributed to pay the expenses of his voyage; they provided him with a ship and, as he left the land he had preserved, they bade him farewell with tearful prayers and blessings. They enjoy an eternity of glory ; and can you be surprised that Plancius is honoured for the loyal sympathy and courage wherewith, after my forcible expulsion, or discreet retirement, if you prefer to call it so, he welcomed, aided, and protected me, and wherewith he preserved me for these gentlemen, for the senate, and for the Roman people, that there might still be some one whom they might one day recall ?

[11.] L   [27] Such behaviour as that upon which I have been dwelling would have been enough to cover a multitude of sins committed by Plancius ; do not then, sir, be surprised that from the noble career which I shall shortly describe to you he drew so many potent aids to his promotion. It was my client who, in early youth, went to Africa in the suite of Aulus Torquatus, and the affection that was felt for him by that man of incorruptible character and lofty principles, who was supremely worthy of every honour and distinction, was such as naturally grew out of the intimacy of tent-fellowship with a young man of such honour and self-control. Were he here to-day, he would be as emphatic in his corroboration of what I say as Titus Torquatus here present, his cousin and son-in-law, his match in every virtue and merit, who is bound to his father-in-law by the closest ties, indeed, of relationship and affinity, but, above all, by an affection so profound as to make the relations of ordinary intimacy seem trivial by comparison. Later, while in Crete, he was the companion of his kinsman Saturninus, and served under Quintus Metellus, who is present here, and the approbation he received, and receives to-day, from these two gives him good ground for hope that he has been approved universally. You know the uprightness and strength of character of Gaius Sacerdos; you know how great Lucius Flaccus is as a man and as a citizen. Both of these were legates in that province, and vouch for the high opinion they have of my client by their constant attendance upon him and by their personal testimony. [28] In Macedonia he was military tribune, and afterwards quaestor in the same province. Chieftains of the Macedonian states are in the court to-day to testify to the affection in which that country holds him. They have come to Rome on an altogether different errand, but in sympathy for my client's unforeseen peril they have put themselves unreservedly and unwearyingly at his service, for they believe that by ranging themselves at his side they will please the states they represent more than by the accomplishment of the mission upon which they have been sent. Furthermore, Lucius Apuleius Saturninus esteems him so highly that by his kindness and devotion he has even bettered the traditional maxim which enjoins that the relation between a praetor and his quaestor should be that of a father towards his son. His career as tribune of the plebs was perhaps not marked by the energy of those tribunes whom you quite rightly praise, but we may without hesitation affirm that had the line he pursued been universally adopted in the past, drastic methods on the part of tribunes would have been rendered superfluous.

[12.] L   [29] I will not dwell upon those scenes of his life which, although enacted off the stage of publicity, yet have praise accorded to them when they are brought into public view. I will not speak of his private relations, first with his father (for in my opinion filial affection is the basis of all virtues), whom he reveres as divine, and indeed a parent is little short of that in his children's eyes, but whom he loves as a companion, as a brother, and as a comrade of like years with himself. Need I allude to his relations with his uncle, with his kin both by blood and by marriage, and with our accomplished friend Saturninus? You see how that gentleman identifies himself with my client's grief, and can you not gather from that how fervent was his desire that he should be elected to office? Need I allude to myself, who, under the shadow which hangs over him, feel that I myself am standing in the dock? Need I allude to the numerous gentlemen of such high standing as we see present, who, as you see, have laid aside their official garb? ** Yes, proofs such as these, gentlemen, are substantial and indubitable; they are tributes to my client's integrity which are not coloured with the hypocritical hues of specious rhetoric, but stamped with the inalienable characters of truth. The compliment and the courtesy wherewith we woo popular favour are an easy task. They take the eye, but they will not bear the test of touch. They make a brave show from a distance, but scrutiny and close handling are fatal to them. [30] Can you wonder, then, at the election to the office of aedile of one who, though in some respects he may be inferior to yourself, in respect, I mean, of name and fame, is nevertheless your superior in the support given to him by his townsfolk, his neighbours, and his business partners, and in his association with me in the crisis of my life, is your equal in virtue, incorruptibility, and self-mastery, and is adorned with every quality which lends intrinsic as well as extrinsic worth ?

And would you dim with your sullying insinuations the lustre of that untarnished life ? You hint darkly at acts of immorality, charges which cannot even be suspected, far less substantiated, against him. Not content with inventing charges, you invent names for your charges, and call him " bigamist." You say that he took with him to the province a companion to be the instrument of his base passions ; this statement is not a charge, but a reckless and libellous falsehood. You say that he raped a ballet-girl ; we hear that this crime was once committed at Atina by a band of youths who took advantage of an old privilege allowed at the scenic games, especially in country towns. ** [31] What a tribute to the propriety of my client's youthful days. He is reproached with an act which he was permitted by privilege to commit, and yet even that reproach is found to be baseless. You say that he released a criminal from prison. True, but the release was inadvertent, as you are aware, and was ordered at the request of an excellent young man whose claims upon my client were not to be put by ; and a warrant was subsequently issued for the re-arrest of the prisoner. These, gentlemen, and these alone, are the scandals alleged against my client's life, and it is on these that you are asked to base your doubts of his scrupulous honour and integrity.

[13.] L   "But the son," says Laterensis, "must be made to pay for the sins of the father." ** What an inhuman sentiment, Laterensis, and how ill it accords with your high principles! Is it really so? Must the sins of the father be visited upon the son in a trial where his civil status is endangered, where his worldly fortunes are at stake, and where the issue is to be decided by a jury so distinguished as the present? Were he never so wicked and never so depraved, his father's mere name should yet carry weight with a merciful and compassionate jury; it should carry weight through the sentiments that animate our common humanity and through the seductive appeal of nature. [32] But since Plancius' character as a Roman knight is such, and his standing as a Roman knight of so long date, that his father, his grandfather, and all his ancestors were Roman knights, and occupied in a flourishing prefecture the highest position of prestige and social influence ; that Plancius himself was a figure of outstanding brilliance among the Roman knights who were themselves the most gifted body to be found in the legions of the general Publius Crassus; and, finally, that he was a leading character among his fellow-burgesses, a conscientious and impartial critic of affairs, the promoter of important companies, and himself the director of very many ; if, so far from any reproach being whispered against him, he has been universally commended, is he still, in spite of all this, to be made to suffer for the sins of a father, whose moral and social influence ** would be adequate to shield one who was far less respected, and even one who was not connected with him by ties of blood ?

[33] "But on one occasion," you say, "the elder Plancius made use of acrimonious expressions." I deny it, though I admit that his expressions may have been over-frank. "Very well," rejoins my opponent, "but even over-frankness is intolerable." What! are these cavillers themselves tolerable, who suggest that freedom of speech on the part of a Roman knight is intolerable? What has become of the tradition of old? And the equity of our legal system, where is it? Where is the freedom of ancient days, which it is now high time should be rearing her head and proudly renewing her youth after the tyranny of our civil calamities ? Need I allude to the attacks made by Roman knights upon members of our highest nobility, or to the undaunted and outspoken strictures passed by the tax-farmers upon Quintus Scaevola, who knew no equal in intellect, in justice, and in integrity? [14.] L   Publius Nasica, when consul, had ordered a cessation of public business, and was on his way homewards when, in the middle of the forum, he met Granius ** the auctioneer, and asked him why he was so downcast. Might it be because the auctions had been postponed? "No," was the reply, "it is because the hearing of the embassies has been postponed." ** On another occasion Granius met Marcus Drusus, the tribune of the plebs, an influential man, but absorbed in political intrigue. Drusus saluted him, and made the formal inquiry, "How are you getting on, Granius?"   "No," replied Granius ; "it is I who should ask you how you are getting on." ** It was Granius too who often employed the licence granted to his brusque wit in sarcastic comments upon the political designs of Lucius Crassus or Marcus Antonius. But now this state of ours is so crushed beneath the weight of a pompous self-sufficiency that to-day a Roman knight has less freedom to raise his voice in protest than an auctioneer had once to raise it in ridicule. [34] To what expressions did the elder Plancius ever commit himself which did not breathe a spirit of indignation rather than of insult? And when did he ever raise his voice in protest, save to protect himself and his partners from wrong? When the senate was prevented from replying to a petition of the Roman knights, a privilege which had never been refused even to our enemies, the injustice was resented by all the tax-farmers, but Plancius made rather less efforts to conceal this resentment than did the others. They, no doubt, stifled within their breasts the expression of their corporate emotion ; while Plancius, more than the rest, bore upon his countenance and upon his tongue, for all to see and hear, those feelings which the rest shared with him. [35] Not, gentlemen, - and here I speak from my own experience, - not but what several remarks are attributed to Plancius which never passed his lips. Because I may happen on some occasion to pass a remark which is not the outcome of deliberate forethought, but which is uttered in the heat of argument or under the impulse of a momentary annoyance, and because, as will happen with many men, some phrase goes abroad which I would not presume to call witty, but which perhaps is not altogether pointless, I am reported to have said what anyone has said. For my own part, if I am credited with an epigram which I think clever and worthy of a scholar and a gentleman of sense, I make no objection; but I take umbrage when I am reputed to have uttered words which are unworthy of me and belong to others. As regards the fact that he was the first to vote for the law that dealt with the tax-farmers, on an occasion when a consul ** of supreme distinction accorded to that body through the medium of the popular assembly a privilege which he would have accorded them through the medium of the senate had he been permitted to do so, if you say that his giving his vote is a chargeable offence, who was there among the tax-farmers who did not give his vote ? If the offence lies in the fact that he was the first to vote, do you impute this fact to chance, or to the proposer of the law? If you impute it to chance, then you have nothing to charge him with; if to the consul, then you admit that our highest accounted Plancius to be the leading man of his order. !

[15.] L   [36] But it is time that I should pass on to the question at issue, wherein, though nominally conducting your prosecution under the Licinian law which deals with illegal combination, you have resort to all measures bearing upon corrupt practices. The only point in which you have followed the law of Licinius is the form of the nomination of the jury which it enjoins ; if this system of empanelling is fair in any respect save in this nomination of tribes, I am at a loss to account for the fact that only in cases of this nature has the senate ruled that the tribes should be nominated by the prosecutor, and has never extended this nomination to all kinds of cases; but in cases dealing expressly with corrupt practices it has allowed prosecutor and defendant to challenge the jury alternately, and, though it has imposed every other oppressive feature, it has not thought fit to impose that of a nominated jury.

[37] But is the motive of this enactment really so hard to seek? Was it not thrashed out when the matter was under discussion in the senate, and exhaustively demonstrated yesterday by Quintus Hortensius, ** with whose conclusions the senate was in agreement ? Now our original feeling in the matter was that when a man had bribed any particular tribe by means of that form of combination which, in compliment rather than in accuracy, is known as an association, ** such a man was best known to those who belonged to that tribe; accordingly, the senate thought that, inasmuch as the tribes nominated to try a defendant would be those tribes whom he had attached to his cause by bribery, the same persons would serve at once as both jurymen and evidence. An oppressive system, gentlemen, in all conscience ; but one to which a defendant could hardly object, if the tribe named to try him were either his own, or one which circumstances had closely connected with him.

[16.] L   [38] But which tribes did you nominate, Laterensis ? The Teretine, ** I have no doubt. Such a nomination would at any rate have been fair. It was what we expected, and what would have been in keeping with your high principles. You were morally bound to nominate that tribe whose seller, briber, and depositary ** you cry out that Plancius was, especially as it was composed of men of austerity and conscientiousness. Perhaps you nominated the Voltinian; for you are pleased to utter vague allegations against that tribe too. Why then did you not nominate that tribe? What had Plancius to do with the Lemonian tribe, or the Ufentine, or the Crustumine? I make no mention of the Maecian tribe, for your idea in nominating that was that he should challenge it, not that it should judge him. [39] Can you then hesitate to believe, gentlemen, that Marcus Laterensis, in arbitrarily picking you out of the whole body of citizens, has consulted some private designs of his own, rather than the spirit of the law? Can you hesitate to believe that, in avoiding the nomination of those tribes with which Plancius has close bonds of relation, my opponent has betrayed his opinion that these tribes were not corruptly bribed by my client, but viewed by him with the affection that springs from obligation and service ? Can my opponent show how his method of nomination, wherein he has ignored the principle on which we acted when we passed the law, can fail to bear most hardly upon my client ? [40] Is it right that you should select from the whole people a jury which consists either of your friends or of the enemies of the accused, or of men whose character you judge to be without pity, deaf to all prayers, lost to all human sympathy? Is it right that you should take us off our guard, unwitting and unsuspecting, and ear-mark your own intimates and those of your friends, or my ill-wishers and those of our supporters, and add to their number men whom you hold to be curmudgeons and misanthropes born? And that after that you should display them to our gaze with such suddenness that not until we saw our jury sitting upon the bench should we have an inkling who they were likely to be; and without even challenging five individuals of them, though this privilege was allowed to the defendant by the president after consultation with his advisers in the last prosecution upon this charge, we should be forced to plead a case wherein our all is at stake ? [41] For if Plancius' life is clear of deliberate wrong to anyone, and if, by your inadvertent error, your nomination, in spite of yourself, was such that we have come up before jurymen instead of executioners, it does not therefore follow that your mode of selection is in itself any less cruel.

[17.] L   Recently our most distinguished citizens rejected the bare notion of a nominated jury, when it was proposed that out of a panel of a hundred and twenty-five members, the heads of the equestrian order, the accused should have the right of refusing seventy-five and retaining fifty, and they moved heaven and earth sooner than tolerate the conditions which such a measure would impose ; and shall we be so tame-spirited as to challenge no single individual in a jury selected not from the whole people, but from a limited field, not nominated for us to reject, but appointed by the prosecutor? [42] I am making no protest at this time against the unfairness of the law, but merely demonstrating how far your conduct declined from its spirit; and had you carried out the forms of that oppressive procedure in accordance with the decree of the senate and the will of the people, by nominating to act in his case his own tribe and those tribes with which he had cultivated relations, I should, so far from protesting, consider my client as good as acquitted, since the jury nominated to pronounce a verdict upon him would consist of men who would be witnesses as well; as it is, I set my expectation not greatly below this. For your nomination of these tribes has betrayed the fact that you prefer to meet jurymen who are strangers to my client than those who are acquainted with him, that you have evaded the spirit of the law, that you have repudiated the principles of equity, and that you choose that the atmosphere of the case should be one of obscurity rather than of light. [43] You say that he has bribed the Voltinian tribe, that he had purchased the vote of the Teretine ; and what therefore could he say before a jury composed of Voltinians, or of his own tribesmen? I retort your question upon you. What could you say? What individual from such a bench would give you the witness of his silence, or even be stirred into utterance at your cue? Indeed, if it were possible for the accused to nominate the tribes, Plancius would perhaps have nominated the Voltinian, as being his intimates and neighbours, and his own tribe, assuredly. And had it been his to nominate a president for the court, whom, pray, would he have been more likely to nominate than our actual president, Gaius Alfius, to whom he must needs be well known, who is his neighbour and his fellow-tribesman, and who is the most conscientious and upright of men? Indeed, his impartial spirit, and the hopes he fixes upon the acquittal of Plancius without arousing the least suspicion of partisanship, plainly prove that my client had no reason for avoiding a jury composed of his own tribesmen, when it is obvious that he could have wished nothing so much as to have a fellow-tribesman presiding over the court.

[18.] L   [44] I do not here criticise your policy in not having nominated the tribes with which my client was best acquainted, but I am endeavouring to show you that you have not acted up to the policy of the senate. Had you done so, what man of the jury would have listened to you? Or what would you have said? That Plancius was a corrupt agent? Every ear would reject it, not a man allow it; they would repudiate it. Or that he was popular? They would have been delighted to hear it; we should have admitted it without misgiving. For you must not think, Laterensis, that the measures dealing with corrupt practices which the senate has submitted to the will of the people had for their object the abolition of electoral rivalry, interest, and popularity; there have always been honest gentlemen who have not scrupled to desire popularity among their fellow-tribesmen. [45] Nor has our senatorial order ever been so unsympathetic towards the lower orders as to be unwilling that relations with them should be cultivated on the basis of such a measure of affability as is open to us ; nor must we impose upon our children a veto which will forbid them to court the respect and affection of their fellow-tribesmen, or tell them that it is wrong for them to secure for their friends the votes of their tribe, or to look for a like service from their friends in their own elections. Such amenities as these are instinct with the spirit of courtesy, kindliness, and chivalry. Such a course I have myself adopted, when it has been required by the exigencies of my own candidature ; I have seen many eminent men do the like, and to-day we see very many men who enjoy popularity. It is the systematic organisation of the tribes and the electorate into sections and allotments, and the restriction of the freedom of the poll by bribery, which in the past has awakened the severity of the senate and the indignant wrath of all good patriots. Bend all your powers, Laterensis, to the task of demonstrating by substantial proof that Plancius resorted to sectional canvassing, to making a register of votes of which he was secure, to being a depositary of bribes, or that he made any promises or distributions of money whatsoever; and if you can prove this, I shall be surprised that you refused to avail yourself of those weapons which the law put into your hands. For were his jury to-day his tribesmen, we should find not merely their severity but even their gaze intolerable, supposing that your allegations were true. [46] But now that you have declined such a course of action, and have refused to empanel men who, in dealing with any delinquencies of my client, would have shown a most indubitable acquaintance with the facts and a most overwhelming indignation, what can you say to the present jury, who in silent perplexity are wondering why you should have laid this burden upon them, why you should have gone out of your way to choose them to sit upon the bench, and why you should prefer their guess-work to the verdict of those who could base their judgement upon knowledge ?

[19.] L   I tell you, Laterensis, that not only is Plancius himself popular, but that the host of ardent supporters who backed his candidature were also popular. If you apply to these the name of "associates," you are sullying disinterested friendship with a name which is a stain; but if you think that their popularity renders them amenable to prosecution, cease to wonder that by your refusal to cultivate the friendship of popular persons you should have failed to win that distinction which your merits demanded as their due. [47] For as I, on my side, prove that Plancius is a popular man in his tribe, and that he has become so by showing kindnesses to many, acting as security for many, and procuring official posts for several through his father's interest and popularity, and finally that by his own merits, his father's, and those of his ancestors, he has included the whole prefecture of Atina in the circle of his universal beneficence, so it lies with you to prove that he was a depositary and a bestower of bribes, and that he worked by registers and tribal allotments. If you cannot do this, do not rob our order of its free and open spirit, do not consider popularity to be a misdemeanour, or attach a penalty to the amenities of life.

Floundering, therefore, in this charge of corrupting the tribes by association, you have clutched at the general charge of bribery; and, in discussing this, let us once and for all, if you please, have done with the stale and vapid commonplaces of rhetoric. [48] I will deal with the matter in this way. Choose any one tribe which it suits your book to choose ; prove (for the burden of proof lies with you) who were the depositaries and who the distributors, by whom it was suborned ; if you show us that you are unable to do this (and in my opinion you will not be able even to begin to do it), I will show you who ** was responsible for Plancius' success in the poll. Is this a fair method of fighting? Does it satisfy you? Have I any better means of closing and grappling with you, if I may borrow a simile ? Why this silence, this dissembling, this reluctance? At every turn you are dogged, harassed, persecuted ; I demand that you shall produce your charges; nay, I importune you for them. No matter what tribe you may pick out of those whose vote Plancius secured, I defy you to demonstrate a flaw; I will demonstrate the means by which he secured their vote. And in doing so I shall apply to you, Laterensis, the same logical process as I apply to Plancius. For as you would be able to give a clear account, supposing I were to demand it of you, of the personal factors which helped you to carry the tribes whose votes you secured, so I affirm that I am ready to present you - yes, even you, my opponent - with an account of the reasons and motives that swayed the voting of any tribe you like to adduce.

[20.] L   [49] But all this argument is superfluous, for it ignores the fact that in the previous election Plancius had already been marked down for the aedileship. That election was, in the first place, opened by a consul ** who, apart from his great general eminence, had been the mover of the very laws concerning corruption with which we are dealing ; and, in the second place, it was opened so suddenly and so unexpectedly that, even had any man contemplated bribery, he would not have found sufficient time for the necessary preliminaries. The tribes had been called upon, the votes taken, the tablets sorted, and the result announced. Plancius was far the most influential of the candidates, and neither was there attached to him, nor could there possibly have been, any suspicion of bribery. The century which votes first carries of itself such weight that no candidate for the consulship has ever secured its vote without being ultimately declared first consul either at that very election or at any rate for the following year; and is it possible that you should be surprised at Plancius' election to the aedileship, when not merely a small fraction, but the whole of the electorate, has given a clear intimation of its will regarding him? In conferring this distinction upon him, it was not a section of a single tribe that gave the lead to the rest, but it was a whole electorate giving the lead to the ensuing election. [50] That, Laterensis, was your opportunity ; had it suited with your inclination, had you thought it consonant with your self-respect, to act as many nobles have often acted, who, realising that their strength in votes was less than they had anticipated, have forthwith obtained an adjournment, and have supplicated the Roman people on bended knee, chagrined and humiliated, I have not the least doubt that the whole populace would have come over to your side. Rarely has it happened that the prayers of a noble, above all of a noble who is blameless and irreproachable, have been ignored by the Roman people. But if you valued a sublime and unbending temper of mind above the aedileship, as indeed you had every right to value it, then, possessing that which you esteem more highly, do not lament your loss of that which you esteem less. For my own part, I have always first endeavoured to deserve honour; secondly, to be thought to deserve it; the honour itself, first in the estimation of most, has held the third place in my own, and yet it cannot fail to be a source of delight to those, and those alone, to whom it has been accorded by the Roman people as a testimony to their merits, and not as a reward for assiduity in the making of interest.

[21.] L   [51] You ask us, moreover, Laterensis, what answer you are to make to your ancestral busts, and to that excellent and accomplished gentleman, your late father. Dwell not upon this thought, but dwell rather upon the fear lest they in their wisdom should censure the complaints of your too mortified spirit. Your father saw the failure of the noble Appius Claudius to obtain the aedileship, though his brother Gaius was the most influential and eminent citizen then living ; but he also saw Appius elected consul at the first attempt. He saw his close friend, the exemplary Lucius Volcatius, and Marcus Piso too, sustain insignificant rebuffs in standing for this office by which you set so great store, before they advanced to the highest honours which it is in the power of the Roman people to bestow. Your grandfather, too, would tell you of the failure to win the aedileship of Publius Nasica, than whom I hold that the state has had no more gallant citizen, and of Gaius Marius, who, after being twice defeated for the aedileship, was seven times elected consul, and of Lucius Caesar, Gnaeus Octavius, and Marcus Tullius; all of these we know were passed over for the aedileship, and were afterwards elected consuls. [52] But why this catalogue of failures to obtain this office? They have often occurred under circumstances which have led the defeated parties to believe that they received a boon from the people. ** That eloquent noble, Lucius Philippus, was never elected tribune of the plebs, that renowned and gallant young man Gaius Caelius was never elected quaestor, Publius Rutilius Rufus, Gaius Fimbria, Gaius Cassius, Gnaeus Orestes were never elected tribunes of the plebs, and yet, in spite of everything, all these, as we know, became consuls. Instances such as these your father and your ancestors will of themselves bring to your mind, not indeed to console you, or to clear you of any stain of reproach, which you fear you may be thought to have contracted, but rather to encourage you to persevere in that career on which you embarked in your early years. Believe me, Laterensis, you have suffered no detraction. Detraction? Nay, if you will but put a right construction upon events, your defeat is, in a sense, a recognition of your merit. [22.] L   Do not think that your candidature for the tribunate, when you withdrew your name to avoid taking a certain oath, ** failed to arouse very considerable remark. By that act you intimated in early youth what were your views on vital questions of state ; you were bolder, no doubt, than many who have successful careers behind them, but nevertheless too frank to further your own youthful ambitions. [53] In view of this, and in view of the wide divergence of popular feeling, you must not think that none were scandalised by your uncompromising attitude; it was these, possibly, who took you off your guard, and so were able to oust you; but, if you are forewarned and forearmed, you will assuredly never again be so ousted.

But it may be, gentlemen, that you have been influenced by reasoning such as this. ''Can you doubt," asks my opponent, "that collusion was employed, seeing that Plancius and Plotius ** together carried the votes of so many tribes? " But could they have been elected together, if they had not carried the votes of the tribes together? '' Yes," he objects, " but in some of the tribes they scored an almost exactly equal number of points." Naturally, since they had both come to the poll with their election and declaration virtually accomplished at the previous election. Yet even this circumstance should not involve them in any suspicion of collusion ; and indeed our ancestors would never have provided for the election of aediles by lot, had they not foreseen the possibility of two candidates receiving the same number of votes. [54] You allege, moreover, that at the former election ** Plotinus agreed to surrender the tribe of Anio to Pedius, and Plancius the Teretine tribe to yourself; but that at the latter election they both retracted their concessions, fearing a close count of the poll. A most consistent course of action, surely, that these men, who you allege were even then in close collusion, should, while the popular will was still quite uncertain, have sacrificed their own tribes to assist you, and that the same men, after having learned the extent of their power, should have become selfishly retentive. You would have us believe that in the latter election they feared a close count, and imagined that doubt and suspense would accompany the decision. Moreover, by involving the accomplished Aulus Plotius in the same charge with my client, you betray the fact that you have haled before the tribunal of justice the man who did not, like the other, intercede with you in his own behalf. I say this, because by complaining that you have more witnesses from the Voltinian tribe than the number of votes you got in that tribe, you show, either that those whom you are producing as witnesses are men who were bribed to withhold their vote from you, or even that you made it worth their while to vote for you.

[23.] L   [55] Again, that matter of the seizure of cash in the Circus of Flaminius, ** which you formulate into a charge, was a nine days' wonder at the time, but interest in it has cooled since the trial began ; for you fail to demonstrate what the money was or for what tribe it was intended or who was deputed to distribute it. Indeed, the man who was brought before the consuls on the charge of being implicated in the affair expressed bitter indignation at the rough handling he had received from your agents. If he was the distributor, especially if he was employed as such by the man whom you intended to prosecute, why did you not prosecute him also? Why did you not secure by his condemnation a verdict which might have served as a precedent for the present trial? But you are not supported by these facts, nor do you rely upon their support ; other motives, and other trains of thought, have inflamed you with a hope that you can compass my client's ruin. You have vast material resources and extensive social influence ; you have hosts of friends, partisans, and well-wishers, who are zealous for your glory. My client, on the other hand, is the object of considerable jealousy ; many think that his excellent father has been too tenacious of the rights and the independence of the equestrian order. ** There is also that large class who show an undiscriminating hostility to all who stand in the dock, and who give glib testimony in charges of corruption, imagining that by their evidence they can sway the minds of the jury, ingratiate themselves with the Roman people, or by such means pave the way for themselves towards gaining at its hands those offices on which they have set their hearts. [56] You will find, gentlemen, that I shall not use my ordinary methods in combating this class of witnesses; not that I can with honour shirk any duty imposed upon me by considerations of Plancius' safety, but because there is no need for me to use my voice to set forth that which you see with your minds, and also because the persons whom I see ready to give evidence have done such good service to myself that the task of criticising them is one which you must impose on your own good judgement, and permit me diffidently to forgo. One thing I do most earnestly beg of you, gentlemen, in view of the peril which threatens, not my client merely, but every one of us; do not consider it right that the fate of the guiltless should lie at the mercy of fictitious rumours and idle gossip which has been sown broadcast and passed from mouth to mouth. [57] The inventions against my client have been multitudinous as their inventors; often they have been the work of the prosecutor's friends, sometimes of our own ill-wishers, often of those who make it their business to backbite and look askance upon all and sundry without respect of persons. But there is nothing which is so volatile as slander, nothing which slips abroad so readily, is caught up so greedily, or disseminated so widely. If you should trace these slanders to their source, I would not have you esteem their author lightly, nor shelter his guilt ; but if no head-waters can be found for some trickling rumour, and if it cannot from the nature of things be brought home to anyone, and if it shall appear to you that he who heard it was so careless as to have forgotten from whom he heard it, or that it sprang from a source so insignificant that he who heard it thought it not worth his while to remember, then we do beg you not to allow the trite phrase "I heard it said," in the mouth of such a man, to be detrimental to my innocent client.

Following sections (58-104)


1.   See Chap. XXXV ., beginning.

2.   The argument of this passage may be summarised thus: "To draw comparisons between yourself and Plancius would be not only rash, but also irrelevant. Election to these minor offices does not depend on the possession of superior endowments, and therefore the fact that Plancius was elected aedile over your head does not suggest either that he is a better man than you, or that the people did you an injustice."

3.   'Enucleata', literally "stripped of the husk," hence metaphorically, "given without the husk of bad motives."

4.   i.e. Laterensis went to Cyrene as pro-quaestor, thus keeping away from Rome at a time when his services were needed there.

5.   In 59, when Caesar and Bibulus were consuls.

6.   The conduct of the public games was one of the chief functions of the aediles.

7.   The praetor C. Alfius Flavus.

8.   At south-east end of Forum; built 121.

9.   Descendants of those who had held curule magistracies had the right of displaying busts of their ancestors in their hall (atrium).

10.   15 miles south-east of Rome.

11.   Extreme south-east of Latium; praefecturae were governed by officers sent annually by the praetor urbanus.

12.   Offices of consul, praetor, and curule aedile.

13.   In early times plebeian collectors of war-tax; later, a distinct order based on property qualification and ranking below equites.

14.   In which the people of Atina voted.

15.   Cicero's birthplace.

16.   P.'s conviction would entail banishment and a fine.

17.   The ancient festival of the cities of the Latin League.

18.   See note on De har. resp. Chap. XXVIII. Contrast the tone with which the publicani are spoken of here with that which was prevalent in the provinces, e.g. Palestine (see the Gospels, passim), and with our own feeling about tax-collectors. It must be remembered that Italy was not taxed.

19.   Pompey.

20.   T. Ampius Balbus (trib. 63), who proposed that Pompey should be allowed to wear triumphal insignia at the games.

21.   Extreme south of Latium; in 88 Marius, driven from Rome, took ship for Africa, but was compelled to land and conceal himself among the marshes at the mouth of the Liris, near Minturnae.

22.   A sign of mourning; in the case of senators, this was done by changing the broad-striped tunic (laticlavia) for the narrow-striped, which was the official dress of the equites.

23.   Oppidanus in a Roman mouth had the same touch of contempt. that "provincial" has with us. Cp. the opposite sense of urbanus.

24.   See below, § 33. These "acrimonious expressions" against the senatorial party were used by the elder Plancius when he had taken the lead in asking, on behalf of the tax-collecting company of which he was a member, for a reduction of the price paid for the farming of the revenues in Asia. The country was in a turmoil, owing to the war with Mithridates, and the publicani stood to lose.

25.   This is not incompatible with what has been said above. See Chap. IX. end.

26.   Proverbial for his caustic wit; cp. Ad fam. ix. 15, 3.

27.   The sting lies in the implication that Scipio, as consul, was denying foreign envoys the right of access to the senate in order to extort a bribe from them.

28.   The pun on 'Quid agis?' cannot fully be brought out in the English. In the first place it means "How do you do?" and in the second "What intrigues are you engaged upon?" .

29.   Caesar, when he enacted that the publicani should be remitted one-third of the sum paid for their contract. The matter was "talked out" by Cato in the Senate, so Caesar brought it before the Comitia Tribute. Here the presiding magistrates (in this case Caesar) had the right of deciding which tribe should do the voting. He chose Plancius' tribe (Teretina), and Plancius (the elder) was the first man to give his vote.

30.   Who had opened the case for the defence.

31.   Sodalicia, the word elsewhere translated "association," conveyed disgrace; sodalitas, the word used here, was the name for a perfectly legitimate club, usually social and religious.

32.   The free Roman population was divided into thirty-five tribes, four town (urbanae) and thirty-one country (rusticae).

33.   Sequester, originally a trustee; in C.'s time, one in whose hands money was deposited by the bribers in trust for the bribed.

34.   Ironical; C. means Laterensis himself.

35.   M. Licinius Crassus, who had himself carried the lex Licinia (see Chap. XV. above).

36.   The aedileship was an expensive office to hold, as it

37.   Caesar's agrarian law enacted that candidates should swear not to propose any other system of land-occupation than that which it laid down; see Ad Att. ii. 18. 9.

38.   Who stood for the aedileship with Plancius. Coitio is "a combination of one candidate with another to prevent the election of a third" (Holden), a practice not unknown in modern politics,

39.   Which had been interrupted. Laterensis alleged that before the first election Plancius and Plotius had promised to himself and Pedius respectively the support of those tribes on whose votes they could rely, but that before the second they had retracted this arrangement, and promised this support to each other.

40.   Built on the Prata Flaminia, between the Capitol and the Tiber, by C. Flaminius, who was killed at the Trasimene, 217. There appears to have been no claimant for this money, and the inference was that it was intended for bribed voters.

41.   See note on Chap. XIII.

Following sections (58-104) →

Attalus' home page   |   31.10.22   |   Any comments?