Cicero : De Provinciis Consularibus

This speech "on the subject of the consular provinces" was delivered in the senate, in 56 B.C.

An updated version of the English translation by C.D. Yonge (1875) is shown here, with some notes by H.E. Butler & M. Cary (1924). Click on the L symbols to go to the Latin text of each section.

[1.] L   [1] If any one of you, O conscript fathers, is waiting to see what provinces I shall propose should be assigned to the consuls ** , let him consider in his own mind which men I must think it most desirable to recall from the provinces; and then he will not have any doubt what ought to be my sentiments, when he has once seriously thought what it is absolutely inevitable that they should be. And if I were the first to deliver the opinion which I am about to state, you would in truth praise it; if I were to stand alone in it, at all events you would pardon me. Even if my opinion were to appear to you on the whole to be of little value, still you would make some allowance for my righteous indignation. But, as the case stands at present, O conscript fathers, I feel no ordinary delight because it is so entirely for the advantage of the republic that Syria and Macedonia should be the provinces decreed to the consuls, that my own private feelings are in no respect at variance with the general good; and because also I can cite the authority of Publius Servilius, who has delivered his opinion before me, ** a most illustrious man, and one of singular good faith and attachment both to the republic in general, and to my safety in particular. [2] And if he, both just now, and whenever he has had any opportunity or possibility of speaking on the subject, has thought it his duty to brand not only with his adverse opinion but with the greatest severity of language, Gabinius and Piso, those two monsters who have all but brought the state to irreparable ruin, both on other accounts, and also most especially because of their extraordinary wickedness and unseemly inhumanity towards me, ** with what feelings ought I myself to be actuated towards those men, - I whose safety they sacrificed as security for the gratification of their inordinate passions? **

But in declaring my sentiments at this time, I will not be guided by my indignation, nor will I be a slave to my anger. The same feelings which every individual among you ought to entertain towards those men, shall influence me also. My special personal feelings, caused by my own grief - which, however, you have always considered as belonging to yourselves in common with me - I will put aside while delivering my opinion, and reserve them for a more fitting opportunity of revenge.

[2.] L   [3] There are four provinces, O conscript fathers, concerning which I understand that opinions have so far been delivered: the two Gauls, which at present we see united under one command; ** and Syria; and Macedonia; which, against your will, and when you were suffering under oppression and constraint, those pernicious consuls seized on as their reward for having overturned the republic. According to the provisions of the Sempronian law, we have now to decree two to the consuls. How is it possible for us to doubt that Syria and Macedonia should be these two? I say nothing of the fact that those men who are now holding them only secured those provinces after they condemned this order of ours, after they had destroyed your authority and put an end to it in the state ; after they had broken the pledge given by the state, ** endangered the entire safety of the Roman people, and harassed me and my friends and relations in the most shameful and barbarous manner.

[4] All these private matters, all these transactions which took place in the city, I say nothing about; though they are of such a nature that Hannibal himself never wished so much evil to this city, as those men have done. I come to the case of the provinces themselves, of which Macedonia, which was formerly fortified not by the fortresses built, but by the trophies erected by many of our generals, which had long ago been reduced to a state of tranquillity by many victories and triumphs, is now so much harassed by the barbarians who are not allowed to rest in peace in consequence of the avarice of the late consul, that the people of Thessalonica, ** placed in the lap as it were of our empire, are compelled to abandon their town and to fortify their citadel, and that military road of ours which reaches all through Macedonia as far as the Hellespont is not only rendered insecure by the incursions of the barbarians but is even dotted and studded with Thracian encampments. And so those nations which had given large sums of money to our illustrious commanders to purchase the blessings of peace, in order to be able to replenish their households which had been thus depleted, instead of the peace which they had purchased, have waged against us what is little short of a regular war.

[3.] L   [5] And now that very army of ours, collected by a most splendid enlistment, and by a very strict levy, has almost entirely perished. I say this with deep distress. The soldiers of the Roman people have been taken prisoners, put to death, abandoned, and dispersed in a most miserable manner. They have been wasted away by neglect, by famine, by disease, by every sort of disaster; so that (and it is a most scandalous thing) the guilt of the general has found scapegoats in his country and his army. And this Macedonia, as all the neighbouring nations had been subdued, and all the barbarians checked, we used to be able to preserve spontaneously, in a peaceable state, and in perfect tranquillity, with a very slight garrison, and a small army, even without a commander-in-chief, by means of legates, and by the mere name of the Roman people. And yet now, when there is a man there with consular command and a consular army, it is so harassed that it is scarcely able to restore its strength by a peace of any duration. And in the meantime who is there of you who has not heard and who does not know that the Achaeans are every year paying a vast sum to Lucius Piso? that all the revenues and harbour duties of the Dyrrachians have been converted to a source of profit for this one man? that the city of the Byzantines, ** a city most loyal to you and to this empire, is harassed as if it belonged to an enemy? to which city he, after he could no longer squeeze anything out of them, because of the poverty to which he had reduced them, and could not by any acts of violence extort anything more from them, miserable as they were, sent his cohorts into winter quarters, and gave them commanders whom he thought likely to be his most complying and diligent agents in wickedness, and ministers to his desires.

[6] I say nothing of the way in which he exercised his jurisdiction in a free city contrary to the laws ** and to the resolutions of the senate. I pass over his murders, ** I omit all mention of his acts of lust; of which there is a most bitter token, constituting a conspicuous record of his own vileness, and almost justifying the provincials in their hatred of our sovereignty, in the fact that it is well-known that some virgins of the noblest birth threw themselves into wells, and by a voluntary death escaped from otherwise inevitable disgrace. Nor do I omit them now because they are not most enormous atrocities, but because I am speaking without the support of any witnesses.

[4.] L   But who does not know that the city of the Byzantines was entirely filled and superbly decorated with statues? which the citizens, even when exhausted by the great expenses of important wars, while withstanding the attacks of Mithridates, ** and the whole force of Pontus, boiling over and pouring itself over all Asia, which they repulsed with difficulty at their own great risk, - even then, I say, and afterwards, the Byzantines preserved those statues and all the other ornaments of their city and guarded them most religiously. [7] But when you, O most unhappy and most infamous of men, became the commander there, O Caesoninus Calventius, then a free city, and one which had been made so by the senate and people of Rome, on account of its recent services, was so plundered and stripped of everything, that, if Gaius Vergilius the legate, a very brave and incorruptible man, had not interfered, the Byzantines would not have retained one single statue out of all their great number.

What temple in all Achaia, what spot or what grove in the whole of Greece, was there of such sanctity that a single statue or a single ornament has been left in it? You purchased from a most infamous tribune of the plebs, ** at the time of that general shipwreck of the city, which you, the very man who were bound to govern it rightly, had been the main agent in overturning; you purchased, I say, at that time, for an immense sum of money, the power of pronouncing judgment on the people of the free cities, with respect to the moneys which had been advanced, ** contrary to the resolutions of the senate, and the law of your own son-in-law. ** What you had bought, you sold in such a manner that you either never gave any decision at all, or else you deprived Roman citizens of their property. [8] But I am not bringing forward these facts at this moment, O conscript fathers, as charges against this man, I am merely arguing with respect to the province. Therefore I pass over all those things which you have often heard of and which you are well aware of, even when you are not reminded of them. I say nothing of his audacious conduct in the city, ** which he has fixed deep in the recollection of your eyes and minds; I say nothing of his arrogance, of his insolence, of his cruelty. Let those dark acts of lust of his remain hidden, acts which he tried to conceal by his stern and frowning brow, ** not by modesty and temperance. I am arguing about the province, the welfare of which is at stake in this matter. Will you not send a successor to such a man as this? Will you allow him to remain any longer? a man whose fortune, from the very moment that he first reached the province, has so vied with his wickedness, that no one could decide whether he was more insolent or more ill-starred. [9] But as for Syria, is that Semiramis any longer to be retained there? a man whose march into the province bore the appearance of king Ariobarzanes ** having hired your consul to come and commit murder, as if he were some Thracian cut-throat. His very first arrival in Syria was marked by the destruction of the cavalry; after that, all his best cohorts were cut to pieces. Therefore, in Syria, since he has been the commander-in-chief, nothing has been done beyond making money-bargains with tyrants, ** and selling decisions, and committing robbery and piracy and massacre; while the general of the Roman people, with his army in battle array, stretching forth his right hand, did not exhort his soldiers to the pursuit of glory, but only kept crying out that everything had been bought by him or was yet to be bought.

[5.] L   [10] And as for the miserable publicani, ** (miserable man that I also am, when I see the miseries and sufferings of those men who have deserved so well at my hands,) he handed them over as slaves to the Jews and Syrians, ** nations themselves born to be slaves. He laid down as a rule from the very beginning, and he persevered in it, never to hear any suit brought by a publicanus; he rescinded covenants that had been made without any injustice; he took away all the guards ** established for their protection; he released many people who were liable to produce revenue and to pay tribute; whatever town he was living in or whatever town he arrived at, there he forbade any publicanus or any servant of a publicanus to remain. Why need I enlarge on this? He would be considered a cruel man if he had shown such a disposition towards our enemies, as he did show towards Roman citizens, especially towards those of that order which has hitherto always been maintained by its own dignity and by the goodwill of the magistrates. [11] Therefore, O conscript fathers, you see that the publicani were ground down and nearly ruined, not by any rashness with which they had entered into the contracts, nor by any ignorance of the proper methods of transacting business, but by the avarice, the pride, and the cruelty of Gabinius. And indeed, in the present difficulties of the treasury, ** it is actually indispensable that you should come to their assistance. Although there are many of them whom you cannot now relieve, men who by the means of that enemy of the senate of that most bitter foe of the equestrian order and of all virtuous men, wretched that they are, have lost not only their property but their honourable position; men whom neither frugality nor temperance nor virtue nor labour nor respectability of character, have been able to protect against the audacity of that glutton and robber. [12] What are we to do? shall we suffer those men to perish who are even now supporting themselves on the resources of their patrimony or on the liberality of their friends? Or, are those who are prevented by enemy action from enjoying the profit derived from the public revenue protected by the terms of their contract with the censors, ** and are we not to aid those, who are thus prevented by one who is none the less an enemy even though he does not bear the name? Retain then in the province a little longer that man who makes covenants with the enemy respecting the allies and with the allies respecting the citizens, - who thinks himself of more worth than his colleague just because that man has deceived you by his morose appearance and by his countenance, while he himself has never once pretended to be less wicked than he really is. Piso, on the other hand, puts forward a different claim to distinction, namely, that in a short time he has deprived Gabinius of the reputation of being the wickedest man in the world.

[6.] L   [13] Do not you think that you ought to recall these men from their provinces even if you had no one to send there in their places? Would you, could you retain there these two pests of the allies, these men who are the destruction of the soldiers, the ruin of the farmers of the revenue, the devastators of the provinces, the disgracers of the empire? But you, yourselves, in the preceding year did attempt to recall these very men when they had only just arrived in the provinces. ** And if at that time your judgment had been unfettered and if the matter had not been so frequently adjourned and at the last taken wholly out of your hands you would have restored your authority, as you were most anxious to do, recalling those men by whom it had been lost and compelling them to give up the rewards ** which they had received and which had been conferred on them in return for their wickedness and for the overthrow of their country. And if they at that time escaped from that punishment, through no merit of their own, but through the influence of others, ** greatly against your will, still they have undergone a much greater and severer punishment. [14] For what severer punishment could befall any one, in whom there exists, if not any respect for his reputation, at all events some fear of punishment, than to have those letters of theirs, which announced that the republic had been very successful in war, so utterly disbelieved? The senate decided this, when in a well-attended meeting it refused Gabinius a supplication; ** they decided, in the first place, that no belief at all could be given to a man polluted with every sort of guilt and wickedness; and, secondly, that the affairs of the republic could not possibly be managed successfully by a traitor, especially by a man who was known to be at the time an enemy of the republic; and, lastly, that even the immortal gods themselves did not choose their temples to be thrown open, and supplications to be addressed to them in the name of a most profligate and wicked man.

Therefore, that other man is either himself a learned man, and one well instructed by his Greek slaves, with whom he now sups in the open, as he used to do behind the scenes; ** or else he has wiser friends than Gabinius, from whom no letters are produced.

[7.] L   [15] Shall we then have these men for our generals? the one of whom does not venture to inform us whether he is styled imperator; ** and the other must in a few days repent of having ventured to mention such a thing to us, if the public couriers are not delayed. And if that man has any friends, or indeed, if it be possible that any one should be a friend to so savage and foul a brute, they comfort themselves with this consolation, that the senators once refused an application to Titus Albucius. ** But first of all, the cases are very unlike. A battle fought by a propraetor with one auxiliary cohort against a group of bandits clad in animal skins in Sardinia; and a war against the mightiest nations ** and tyrants of Syria, which was brought to a termination by means of a consular army, and a magistrate invested with the supreme military command. In the next place, Albucius had had already decreed to himself in Sardinia the same thing which he was soliciting from the senate. For it was notorious that he like a Greek, and like the light-headed inconsiderate man that he was, had celebrated something like a triumph in the province itself. And therefore the senate marked their displeasure at this precipitate conduct of his by the refusing of a supplication. [16] But let him in truth enjoy this as some comfort, and let him think this very eminent mark of disgrace all the less considerable because it has been inflicted on himself alone, provided only that he is content to expect the same end as that man by whose precedent he consoles himself. Especially as Albucius was not liable to the reproach of either Piso's lust or Gabinius's audacity and yet fell by this one blow, the infamy with which he was branded by the senate. [17] The man who proposes to assign the two Gauls to the two consuls ** would return both these men in their provinces. But he who proposes to assign to them one of the Gauls and either Syria or Macedonia still would retain one of these men; and while they are both equal in wickedness, he proposes to make their future condition unequal. No, the result will not be what you suggest - says he - for I shall assign Syria and Macedonia to praetors ; Gabinius and Piso can then be superseded forthwith. Yes, if this man here allows you to do so; for the the tribune will then be able to intercede with his veto; but at present he cannot do so. ** Therefore I myself, who now propose to assign to the consuls who are to be elected Syria and Macedonia, am prepared also to make them praetorian provinces, in order that the praetors may have their provinces for a year, and that we may at the earliest opportunity see those men at home and in our midst, on whom we cannot look without pain.

[8.] L   But believe me, those men will never have successors appointed to them, except when a motion shall be made in accordance with the provisions of that law which forbids the veto in connexion with the assignation of provinces; therefore, if this opportunity is lost, you must now wait an entire year; ** during which interval the calamities of the citizens, the miseries of the allies, and the impunity of the most wicked men may be extended. [18] But even if they were the most excellent of men, still, in my opinion, it could never be advisable to appoint a successor to Gaius Caesar. Now, concerning this matter, O conscript fathers. I shall declare my real sentiments, and I shall not be disconcerted by that interruption of my most intimate friend, who did a little while ago interrupt my speech, as you heard. ** That excellent man says that I ought not to be more hostile to Gabinius than to Caesar; for that all that storm, to which I yielded, was raised by the instigation and assistance of Caesar. And if I were in the first instance to reply that I was having regard to the common advantage, and not to my own private sufferings, surely I should be able to make good my case, since I say that I am doing what I well may do according to the example of other most valiant and most illustrious citizens? Did not Tiberius Gracchus (I am speaking of the father, and would that his sons had never degenerated from their father's virtue! ** ) gain great glory because he, while tribune of the plebs, was the only one of the whole college who was any assistance to Lucius Scipio, though he was the bitterest possible enemy, both to him and to his brother Africanus; and did he not swear in the public assembly that he had by no means become reconciled to him, but that it seemed to him quite inconsistent with the dignity of the empire that, after the generals of the enemy had been led to prison while Scipio was celebrating his triumph, the very man also who had triumphed should be led to the same place? ** [19] Who had a greater number of enemies than Gaius Marius? Lucius Crassus and Marcus Scaurus were his foes, and all the Metelli. But those men not only refrained from recalling that enemy of theirs from Gaul by their votes, but also, out of consideration for the Gallic war, they even voted him the province out of the regular order. ** A most important war has been waged in Gaul; very mighty nations have been subdued by Caesar; but they have not yet been subjected to the restraints of law and of a definite system of rights, nor is peace as yet sufficiently firmly established among them. We see that the war has been carried on, and, to say the truth, nearly brought to a conclusion; but the position is such that, if he who began the campaign carries out the final operations, we shall see everything brought to a successful conclusion, whereas, if he is superseded, there will be a serious risk of hearing that the embers of that mighty conflict have been fanned anew and have broken into fresh flame. Therefore I, a senator, an enemy, if you please, of the man himself, feel it my duty to be, as I always have been, a friend to the republic. [20] What if I lay aside my enmity itself for the sake of the republic, who, I should like to know, would have a right to blame me? especially as I have at all times thought that I ought to seek for the models for all my intentions and for all my actions in the conduct of the most illustrious men.

[9.] L   Was not, I should like to know, was not that great man Marcus Lepidus, ** who was twice consul, and also pontifex maximus, praised not only in men's memory, but also in the records of our annals, and by the voice of our greatest poet, ** because on the day that he was made censor, he immediately in the Campus Martius reconciled himself to Marcus Fulvius his colleague, a man who was his bitterest enemy, in order that they might perform their common duty devolving on them in the censorship with one common feeling and union of good will? [21] And to pass over ancient instances, of which there is no end, did not your own father, O Philippus, ** did not he become reconciled at one and the same time with all his greatest enemies? to all of whom the same attachment to the republic now reconciled him, which had previously separated him from them. [22] I pass over many instances because I see before me these lights and ornaments of the republic Publius Servilius and Marcus Lucullus; would that that great man, Lucius Lucullus, were still alive! What enmities were ever more bitter in this city that those which subsisted between the Luculli and the Servilii? But the welfare of the republic, and their own dignity, not only put an end to the ill-feeling of those most gallant men, but even changed it into friendship and intimacy. ** What? did not Quintus Metellus Nepos while consul, in the temple of the Jupiter Optimus Maximus, influenced by your authority and also by the incredible dignity of eloquence of that same Publius Servilius, become reconciled to me though I was far away, and do me the greatest possible service? ** Is it possible for me to be an enemy to this man, ** whose letters, whose glory, and whose messengers every day fill my ears with previously unknown names of tribes, and nations, and places? [23] I burn, believe me, O conscript fathers, (as indeed you do believe of me, and as you feel yourselves,) with an incredible love for my country; which love compelled me formerly to encounter most terrible dangers which were hanging over it, at the risk of my own life; ** and again, when I saw every sort of weapon aimed from all quarters against my country, drove me to put myself in their way, and to expose myself singly to their blows on behalf of the whole body of citizens. ** And this, my old and perpetual loyalty towards the republic, now reunites and reconciles me to Gaius Caesar, and reinstates me in friendship with him. In short, let men think what they please; it is impossible for me to be other than a friend to one who deserves well of his country.

[10.] L   [24] In truth, if I have not only taken on myself the enmity of, but have declared and waged open war against those men who wished to destroy all these things with fire and sword - though some of them were my own personal acquaintances, and some had been saved on capital trials through my defence of them - why should not the same republic which was able to make me hostile to my friends, be able also to reconcile me to my enemies? What reason had I for hating Publius Clodius, except that I thought him likely to be a citizen to who brought ruin on our country, inasmuch as, inflamed by the most infamous lust, he trampled under foot by one crime two most holy considerations, religion and chastity? ** Is it, therefore, doubtful from these actions, which he has done and which he is doing every day, that I in opposing him was consulting the interests of the republic more than my own tranquillity; but that some others, who defended him, thought more of their own security than they did of the peace of the community?

[25] I admit that I was of a different opinion to Caesar with respect to the affairs of the republic, and that I agreed with all of you: but now I am also agreeing with you just as I was in agreement before. For you, - to whom Lucius Piso does not venture to send letters respecting his exploits, - you who have condemned the letters of Gabinius with a most remarkable stigma and an unprecedented mark of disgrace, have decreed supplications to Gaius Caesar in such number, as were never decreed before to any one in one war, and with such marks of honour as were never voted to any one at all. Why, then, need I wait for any man to act as a mediator between us, in order to reconcile me to him? This most honourable order has mediated between us; that order which is the instigator and the guide both of public policy and of all my own designs. I am following you, O conscript fathers, I am obeying you, I am adopting your opinions; - yours, I say, who, as long as you had no very favourable opinion of the designs of Gaius Caesar with respect to the republic saw that I too was very little attached to him; since you changed your opinions and inclinations on account of his great achievements you have seen me also not only sharing your sentiments but also advocating of them.

[11.] L   [26] But what is the reason why in this cause men so exceedingly marvel at and find fault with my opinions when I also before now proposed and voted for many things which concerned that man's dignity more than they did the safety of the republic? I supported with my vote a supplication of fifteen days in Caesar's honour. It would have been sufficient for the good of the republic to have had it last only the same number of days as the supplication in honour of Gaius Marius. ** That could not have been accounted by the immortal gods a scanty thanksgiving, which was as great as had heretofore been offered in the most important wars. Therefore that increased number of days was given to the merits of the man. [27] And in respect of that, I, who as consul brought forward the motion, first, for decreeing a supplication of ten days to Gnaeus Pompeius after Mithridates had been slain and the Mithridatic war been concluded, - I, in compliance with whose opinion it was that the ordinary number of days for a supplication awarded to a man of consular rank was doubled; for you all agreed with me when the letters of that same Pompeius had been read, and you knew that all wars both by sea and land had been successfully terminated, and then you decided on a supplication of twelve days - I, I say, admired the virtue and greatness of mind of Pompeius in that, when he himself had previously been preferred to all other men in every sort of honour, he now was giving an honour to another that was greater than what he himself had received. Therefore, in that supplication which I proposed, the honour was given to the immortal gods, and to the established usages of our ancestors, and to the welfare of the republic. But the dignity of the language in which the decree was couched, and the honour and the novelty of the attendant circumstances, and the number of the days, was meant as a compliment to the renown and glory of Caesar himself. [28] A motion was recently brought forward before our body concerning the pay of the army. ** I not only voted for it myself, but I strove earnestly to induce you to vote for it; I replied to many of the arguments of those who objected to it; I supported it also by writing. ** In that case also, I was rather considering the dignity of the man who commanded the army, than any particular necessity that existed for the measure. For I thought that he, even without this additional supply of money, was able to maintain his army with the booty that he had already acquired, and to terminate the war. But I thought it would be unbecoming to diminish the glory and splendour of that triumph of his by any parsimony on our part.

A discussion took place also about the ten legates whom he wished to have appointed; ** and some voted altogether against giving them, others asked for precedents, others wished to adjourn the consideration of the question, and others declared their opinion in favour of it without any complimentary expressions to Caesar himself. But on that occasion, I spoke in such a manner as to let all men see that, though I thought the measure advantageous to the republic, I was promoting it more copiously out of a desire to pay due honour to the dignity of Caesar.

[12.] L   [29] In all those discussions you have listened to me with silent attention, but now that the question is about the provinces which are to be decreed to the consuls, I am interrupted; although in all the former transactions it was only a compliment to an individual that I urged, while now I have no motive but the consideration of the war and the general welfare of the republic. For, as for Caesar himself, what reason can there be why he should wish any longer to remain in the province, except for the purpose of not handling over to the republic the tasks which have been undertaken by him until they are completely finished? It is the delightful nature of the country, I suppose, and the splendour of the cities, and the civilised state and accomplished habits of those nations and natives, or it is a desire for victory, it is a wish to extend the boundaries of our empire, that detains him there! What is there anywhere more savage than those countries? what more uncivilised than their towns? what more barbarous than their citizens? Moreover what can be imagined more desirable than the victories which he has already gained or what can be discovered beyond the ocean? Is his return to his country likely to be disagreeable to any one? Can it be so either to the people who sent him on this command, or to the senate from whom he has received so many distinctions? will time increase our wish to see him again, or will it rather increase our forgetfulness of him? And will those laurels of his which he has gained amid such dangers, lose their freshness by the time that elapses after their acquisition? If there are some who are not attached to him, even they have no reason for recalling him from his province. It is only recalling him to glory, to triumph, to receive congratulations, to receive the highest honours which the senate can bestow, to receive the thanks of the equestrian order, and to receive the devoted affection of the people. [30] But if he, out of his regard for the interests of the republic, does not make haste to enjoy the extraordinary good fortune which is in store for him, preferring to remain and finish everything, then what ought I to do as a senator, - I, who ought to think only of the advantage of the republic, even if his wishes were different ? For I feel, O conscript fathers, that we at this time, while engaged in assigning provinces to the consuls, ought to take care for the preservation of perpetual peace. [31] For who is there who is not aware that all our other possessions are safe from all danger, and even from all suspicion of wars? We have for some time seen that the immense sea - whose disturbed condition ** endangered not only our voyages by sea, but even our cities and our military roads - is now, thanks to the valour of Gnaeus Pompeius, like one vast harbour in a safe and defensible state, from the ocean to the very extremity of Pontus, ; and as for those nations, which by their mere numbers and the immensity of their population, were sufficient to overthrow our provinces, we have seen some of them so cut back, and others so severely checked by that same man, that Asia, which was formerly the limit of our empire, is now itself bounded on the far side by three of our provinces. ** I might go on speaking of every region and of every race of men. There is no nation which is not either so far destroyed as scarcely to have any existence at all, or so utterly subdued as to be quite tranquil; or else so entirely at peace with us, as to rejoice at our victories and at the extension of our empire.

[13.] L   [32] The war with Gaul, O conscript fathers, has been carried on actively since Gaius Caesar has been our commander-in-chief; previously, we were content to act in defence, and to repel attacks. For our generals at all times thought it better to limit themselves to repulsing those nations, than to provoke their hostility by any attack of our own. Even that great man, Gaius Marius, whose godlike and amazing valour came to the assistance of the Roman people in many of its misfortunes and disasters, ** was content to drive back the enormous multitudes of Gauls who were forcing their way into Italy, without endeavouring to penetrate into their cities and dwelling-places. And lately, that partner of my labours, and dangers, and counsels, Gaius Pomptinus, that most gallant man, subdued in battle a war of the Allobroges which rose up suddenly against us, and which was fomented by that impious conspiracy, and defeated those tribes who had attacked us, but then he remained quiet, contented with the victory by which he had delivered the republic from alarm. **

But I see that the intentions of Gaius Caesar are very different. For he thought it his duty, not only to wage war against those men whom he saw already in arms against the Roman people, but to reduce the whole of Gaul under our dominion. [33] Therefore, he fought with the greatest success against those most valiant and powerful nations the Germans and Helvetii; and the other nations he terrified and drove back and defeated, and taught them to yield to the supremacy of the Roman people, so that those districts and those nations which were previously not known to us - neither by any one's letters, nor by the personal account of any one, nor even by vague report - have now been overrun by our own general, by our own army, and by the arms of the Roman people.

Previously, O conscript fathers, we have only known the road into Gaul. ** All other parts of it were possessed by nations which were either hostile to this empire, or treacherous, or unknown to us, or, at all events, savage, barbarian, and warlike; no one ever existed who did not wish these nations to be crushed and subdued: nor has any one, from the very first rise of this empire, ever carefully deliberated about our republic, without thinking that Gaul was the chief source of danger to this empire. But still, on account of the power and vast population of those nations, we never before have waged war against all of them; we have always been content to resist them when attacked. Now, at last, it has been achieved that there should be one and the same boundary to our empire and to those nations.

[14.] L   [34] Nature had previously protected Italy by the Alps, since with especial kindness the gods had provided us with such a bulwark. For if that road had been open to the savage disposition and vast numbers of the Gauls, this city would never have been the home and chosen seat of the empire of the world. Now, indeed, they are at liberty to sink down if they please; for there is nothing beyond those lofty heights as far as the ocean itself, which can be any object of fear to Italy. But still it will be the work of one or two summers finally to bind the whole of Gaul in everlasting chains either by fear, or hope, or punishment or reward, or arms, or laws. And if our affairs there are left in an unfinished state, and while there is still some bitterness of feeling remaining, although the enemy may be cut back severely for the present, still they will raise their heads again some time or other, and come forth with renewed strength to renew the war. [35] Let, then, Gaul be left in the guardianship of that man to whose valour, and good faith, and good fortune it has already been entrusted. If, in truth, he, having been distinguished by such marked favour of Fortune, were unwilling to risk the favour of that fickle goddess too often; if he were anxious himself to return to his country, to his household gods, to that dignity which he sees in store for him in this city, to his most charming children, ** and to his most illustrious son-in-law; ** if he were impatient to be borne in triumph as a conqueror to the Capitol, crowned with the illustrious laurel of victory; if, in short, he were apprehensive of some disaster, as no event can now add so much glory to him as a mishap might deprive him of - still it would be your duty to insist on all those affairs being brought to a termination by the same man who has begun them so successfully. But when he has not yet satisfied his own desire for glory and for the safety of the republic, and as he prefers coming at a later period to reap the rewards of his toils rather than failing to complete the duty which the republic has committed to him; then certainly, we, for our part, ought not to recall a general who is so eager to conduct the affairs of the republic gloriously, nor to throw into confusion and to hinder his plans for the whole Gallic war, which are now almost matured and accomplished.

[15.] L   [36] For I cannot at all approve of those opinions which have been expressed by some most illustrious men, ** one of whom proposes to give the consuls the further Gaul and Syria, and the other proposes the nearer Gaul. He who proposes the further Gaul, throws all those matters into confusion about which I have just been speaking, and shows at the same time that he is advocating a law which he affirms to be no law at all; ** and that he is taking away that part of the province which is immune from veto, but is not touching that part which could have a defender. ** The effect of his conduct also is not to meddle with that which has been conferred by the people while at the same time he as a senator is anxious to take away what has been given by the senate.

The other takes consideration of the Gallic war; he discharges the duty of a virtuous senator: though he thinks the law invalid, still he observes it; for he fixes beforehand a day for his successor to enter on his office. ** But it seems to me that nothing is more inconsistent with the dignity and principles of our ancestors than for the consul, who on the first of January should have a province, to have it promised to him in this way, and not regularly decreed to him. Suppose he were during the whole of his consulship without a province, though even before he was elected a province was decreed to him, is he to cast lots for a province, or not? ** [37] For it is absurd not to draw lots for one, - absurd also not to get that which one has drawn by lot. Is he to march out in the robe {paludamentum} of a commander in chief? Where should he go? Why, to a place where he may not arrive before a certain fixed day. All January and February he is not to have a province. At last on the first of March a province will suddenly spring up for him. [38] Nevertheless if these sentiments prevail, Piso will remain in his province.

And though these are weighty considerations, still none of them are more serious than this - that it is an insulting thing for a commander in chief to be penalised as it were by a diminution of his provinces, and we ought to take great care that such a thing should not be allowed to happen, not only not in the case of a most illustrious man, but not even in that of a man of moderate reputation.

[16.] L   I am well aware, O conscript fathers, that you have decreed many extraordinary honours to Gaius Caesar; honours which are almost unprecedented. In that he has amply merited them, you have been grateful; if I add, too, that he is a man most thoroughly attached to this order of the senate, you have been wise and provident. For this order has never heaped its distinctions and kindness on any one who has subsequently thought any dignity preferable to that which he had obtained by your favour. For it is not possible for any one to be the leading man in this body who has preferred to be a friend of the people {popularis}. But all men who have done this, have either distrusted themselves on account of their shortcomings, or else they have been driven away from a union with this order on account of the disparagement of their merits by the rest, and so they have been almost constrained to throw themselves out of this harbour onto those stormy billows. And if, after they have been tossed about on those surges, and have become wearied of their voyage amid the whims of the people, when they have been successful in the conduct of the affairs of the republic, they show their faces again in the senate-house, and wish to gain the favours of this most honourable order - I say that they are not only not to be repelled, but are to be received with open arms, and courted. [39] We are warned by the bravest man and most admirable consul who has ever existed in the memory of man, ** to take care that the nearer Gaul be not decreed against our will to any one after the election of those consuls who are now about to be elected, ** and that it be not for the future occupied forever by these men who are the constant attackers of this order, by some turbulent system of currying favour with the mob. And although I am not indifferent to the evil consequences of such a measure, O conscript fathers, especially when warned of them by a consul of the greatest wisdom, and one who is an especial guardian of peace and tranquillity, still I think that there is an evil to be regarded with even more apprehension than that, - the evil, I mean, of diminishing the honours of most illustrious and powerful citizens, and rejecting their zeal for the maintenance of this order.

For even supposing that Gaius Julius, having received all sorts of extraordinary and unprecedented honours from the senate, were compelled to deliver up this province to one whom you would be very unwilling to see there, still I cannot possibly be induced to suspect that he would deprive that body of liberty by which he himself had the greatest glory conferred on him. Lastly, what intentions every one will have I do not know; I am aware only of what my own hopes are. I, as a senator, am bound to take care, as far as I can, that no illustrious or powerful man shall appear to have any right to feel offended with this body. [40] These sentiments I should express out of regard to the republic, even were I ever so great an enemy to Gaius Caesar.

[17.] L   But I do not think it irrelevant, for the purpose of being in the future less frequently interrupted by certain persons, or less condemned in the unspoken opinion of some others, to explain briefly what is the nature of my relations with Caesar. And in the first place, I pass over that period of familiarity and intimacy which existed between him and me, and my brother and Gaius Varro, our cousin, ** from the time that we were all young men. After I became deeply engaged in public affairs, my opinions on matters of state were such that, although we were of entirely opposite public parties, there was no interruption of our private friendship. [41] He, as consul, adopted measures in which he wished to have me for a partner; and if I was opposed to the measures themselves, still I could not avoid being pleased at the opinion of me which he displayed by that wish. He asked me also to accept the office of quinquevir. ** He wished me to be one of three men of consular rank most closely connected with himself; and he offered me any legateship I pleased, with as much honour and distinction as I could wish. ** All these offers I rejected with great firmness in my own principles, but not without feeling grateful to him for them. How wisely I acted is not now the question; for many will not approve of my conduct. At all events I acted with consistency and firmness, inasmuch as though by accepting them I might have defended myself with powerful assistance against all the wickedness of my enemies and should have been able to repel the attacks of popularity hunters {populares} by the protection of a popular man, I preferred to meet any fortune, to encounter any violence and any wrong, rather than differ from the wise and righteous sentiments of the senate, or deviate from the line of conduct which I had marked out for myself.

But a man is bound to be grateful, not only if he has received a kindness, but if he has had an opportunity of receiving one. I did not think that all those compliments and distinctions with which he was loading me were appropriate for me, or were suited to the exploits which I had performed. But I saw that he regarded me with the same friendly disposition with which he looked on that chief of the citizens, his own son-in-law. [42] He afterwards assisted my great enemy in passing over to the ranks of the plebeians, ** either because he was angry with me when he saw that I could not be enticed, not even by all his kindness, to unite with him, or because he could not resist the entreaties of Clodius. ** And even that did no harm to me in his opinion; for he afterwards not only advised but actually begged me to act as his legate. Even so I would not accept this; not because I thought it inconsistent with my dignity, but because I had no suspicion that such wicked designs against the republic were entertained by the succeeding consuls, as they afterwards turned out to be.

[18.] L   Therefore I have much more reason to fear that I may be blamed for arrogance of conduct with respect to his generosity towards me, than that I should be reproached with the harm which he has done me in spite of our friendship. [43] Turn your eyes to that tempest ** - to that time of darkness to all good men, - to that sudden and unforeseen danger which overwhelmed all things, - to that cloud which came over the republic - to the ruin and conflagration of the city - to the alarm given to Caesar with respect to all the acts of his consulship, ** - to the fear of massacre with which all good men were struck, - to the wickedness, and greed, and penury, and audacity of the consuls! If I was not aided by him then, he was under no obligation to aid me; if I was deserted by him, perhaps he was providing for his own safety; if I was even attacked by him, as some men think, or at all events wish me to think, then our friendship was violated, I received an injury, and he has deserved that I should be his enemy. I do not deny it; but still, if he was anxious for my safety when you were all regretting my absence like the dearest of your sons, and if you all at the same time thought it of great importance to my cause that the wishes of Gaius Caesar should not be opposed to my safety; and if I have his son-in-law ** as a witness of his good will towards me at that time, who himself stirred up all Italy in the municipal towns and the Roman people in the assembly, and you too ** who were always most devoted to me, in the Capitol, to take measures for my safety; if in short Gnaeus Pompeius is at the same time a witness to me of the good will which Caesar entertains for me, and a guarantee to him of my attachment to him; does it not appear to you that I ought rather to recollect the times that are long past and also to remember this time which is nearest to us now, and by means of these memories to eradicate that middle time so full of infamy and misery, if not from the history of events, (which indeed may be impossible,) at all events from my own mind? [44] But, if I may not (as some people think I ought not) boast that I have sacrificed my personal feelings of indignation and enmity to the interests of the republic, which it appears to me to be the duty of a great and wise man to do, I will at all events avail myself of this plea, - which is of force not so much to gain praise as to avoid reproach, - namely, that I am a grateful person, and that I am inclined to be moved, not only by such exceeding services as his, but even by a moderate display of good-will towards me.

[19.] L   I implore some most gallant men, ** who have done me great service, that, if I have been unwilling that they should be partakers of my labours and distresses, they will also spare me from being the partaker of their enmities; especially as they have granted to me that I have a right to defend those acts of Caesar's which I neither attacked nor defended before. [45] For the most eminent men of the state, by whose counsels I acted when I preserved the republic, and in deference to whose authority I avoided that union with Caesar to which he invited me, deny that the Julian laws, and the others which were passed during his consulship, ** were legally passed at all. ** And at the same time they say that the motion to outlaw me was passed in a manner contrary to the safety of the republic, but still without any illegal disregard of the auspices. Therefore a man of the highest authority, and of the greatest eloquence, stated gravely that that disaster of mine was a funeral of the republic, but a funeral performed with all regular solemnity. To me myself it is altogether excessively complimentary, that my departure should be called the funeral of the republic. His other expressions I do not find any fault with, but I will take them as a foundation for the sentiments which I feel. For if men have ventured to say that the proposition was carried in a regular manner, although there was no precedent nor any law authorising such a bill to be carried, merely because no one had been observing the heavens at the time, had they forgotten that, at the time that the man who proposed this bill was made a plebeian by a lex curiata, it was announced that a magistrate was observing the heavens? And if it was absolutely irregular for him to be made a plebeian, how could he be made a tribune of the plebs? And if his tribunate is declared valid, then none of Caesar's acts can possibly be invalid; and so, will not, not merely his tribunate, but also other most scandalous matters appear to have been passed with proper regularity, if it be decided that the religious respect due to the auspices was preserved? [46] Therefore you must decide either that the Aelian law still exists, that the Fufian law has not been abrogated, ** and that it is not lawful for a law to be passed on every one of the dies fasti; ** that, when a law is being passed, there is no objection to observations of the heavens being taken, or to such an announcement being made by the magistrates, or to any one interposing his veto; that the decisions and investigations of the censors, and that most strict inspection of morals, has not been abolished in the city by nefarious laws; ** that if a patrician has been tribune of the plebs, he has been so in violation of the most sacred laws, - if a plebeian, in disregard of the auspices: or else men must grant to me that it is not necessary for me in the case of good measures to be bound by those rules which they themselves do not adhere to in shameful ones; especially as it has been a proposal made by them to Gaius Caesar several times, that he should carry the same measures in some other manner, (in some manner, that is, which the auspices required and which the law sanctioned;) and when, in the case of Clodius, the situation with regard to the auspices is just the same, and all the laws of the state have been overturned and destroyed.

[20.] L   [47] This is the last thing which I have to say. If I had any enmity against Gaius Caesar, still at this time I ought to consult the interests of the republic, and to reserve my hostility for another time. I might even, following the precedent of most eminent men, lay aside my enmity altogether for the sake of the republic; but as I have never entertained any enmity to him, and as the idea of having been injured by him has been extinguished by services which he has done me, with my vote, O conscript fathers, if the dignity of Gaius Caesar is at stake, shall support him; - if any honour to be paid to him is under discussion, I shall consult the unanimous feeling of the senate; if the authority of your decrees is the main point to be regarded, I shall uphold the consistency of our order by voting distinctions to this same commander; - if a broad consideration of the Gallic war is to be taken into the account, I shall consult the interests of the republic; if I may have respect to my own private duty I shall show that I am not ungrateful.

And I wish, O conscript fathers, to persuade you all to approve of my sentiments; but I shall not be greatly concerned if I fail to persuade those men who protected my enemy ** in spite of your authority; or those who found fault with my reconciliation with their enemy, while they themselves do not hesitate to be reconciled both to my enemy and to their own.

FOOTNOTES by H.E. Butler & M. Cary

1.(↑)   By the Lex Sempronia of C. Gracchus (123 or 122) the consular provinces (spheres of action, not necessarily "provinces" in the territorial sense) must be selected before the election of those who were ultimately to hold them. The consuls now to be elected would assume office at Rome on the 1st January 55, and would proceed to the provinciae previously assigned on the expiry of their year of office in Rome.

2.(↑)   Publius Servilius had perhaps spoken first, as he was a very senior consular. Publius Servilius Vatia Isauricus had been consul in 79 and had served with distinction against the pirates. He had strongly supported Cicero's recall and had reconciled his enemy Metellus Nepos (cos. 57) to him.

3.(↑)   i. e. the part they bore in securing Cicero's banishment

4.(↑)   i. e. they agreed to support Clodius's proposals for the banishment of Cicero in order to secure the lucrative provinces which he promised to get for them.

5.(↑)   Cisalpine Gaul and Illyricum had been somewhat irregularly conferred on Caesar by the lex Vatinia, while Transalpine Gaul had been given by the senate immediately after.

6.(↑)   The 'ultimum decretum' of the senate ('videant consules ne quid detrimenti capiat res publica'), passed to enable the consuls to crush the Catilinarian conspiracy, was virtually a declaration of martial law, and carried with it a pledge of indemnity for any action that they might think fit to take.

7.(↑)   They were threatened with raids from the Densletae (Pis. 84). Thessalonica, was capital of one of the four districts into which Macedonia was divided on its annexation by Rome (Liv. xlv. 29), and though, as a 'libera civitas', not under the direct administration of the governor, was also the seat of government for the whole province.

8.(↑)   Byzantium was, like Dyrrhachium, a 'libera civitas', having had a treaty with Rome since about 150 (Tac. Ann. xii. 62). Such states were free from all imperial taxation and enjoyed complete autonomy; no Roman troops might be quartered upon them.

9.(↑)   A Roman governor had no jurisdiction in a free state, not even if it happened to be the seat of his government. But Piso had been given the power to intervene in cases 'de pecuniis creditis' (see ยง 7) by the terms of the Lex Clodia. For complaints against Piso on this score see Dom. 23 ; Pis. 37. 86 sqq.

10.(↑)   Murders such as that of Plator of Dyrrhachium (Pis. 83) or of the Bessian envoy Rabocentus (Pis. 84).

11.(↑)   Mithradates VI, surnamed Eupator, had waged three wars against Rome, 88-84, 83-82, 74-63. There is no record of his having made any actual attack on Byzantium, though Byzantium remained loyal to Rome and was used as a base by the Roman fleet. Cicero refers in rhetorical terms to the important service rendered by the loyalty of a town of such strategic importance.

12.(↑)   P. Clodius.

13.(↑)   The precise significance of this passage is not clear. The Lex Clodia, conferring the province on Piso, specifically gave him the power of intervening de pecuniis creditis in free states (cp. Dom. 23); whether it was merely one of a number of privileges summed up under the name of imperium infinitum (Dom. 55) we have no means of deciding.

14.(↑)   The Lex Iulia repetundarum, by which Caesar attempted to check extortion in the provinces. It appears to have confirmed and specially defined the rights of free states. Cp.Pis. 37, 'nam lege Caesaris iustissima atque optima populi liberi plane et vere erant liberi'. Caesar had married Calpurnia, Piso's daughter.

15.(↑)   In 58 as consul at Rome.

16.(↑)   For Piso's personal appearance and hypocritical assumption of the airs of a stern Roman of earlier days, see Sest. 21-4.

17.(↑)   The second king of that name, King of Cappadocia (63-52), in which latter year he was assassinated. Cappadocia was a vassal kingdom of Rome. It is not known to what Cicero refers. Gabinius presumably assisted Ariobarzanes to restore order in his kingdom or to punish enemies. Drumann, (Geschichte Roms iii. 45) supposes that Ariobarzanes bribed him to murder Cappadocian emigres who had taken refuge in Syria.

18.(↑)   The reference may be to Gabinius's support of Hyrcanus, high-priest and ruler of Judaea, against his rebel nephew Alexander. Hyrcanus had been confirmed in power by Rome; Gabinius's crime, if any, must have been that he made money out of the performance of his duty. Other vassal princes with whom he may have had questionable financial relations were Aretas, King of Nabataea, Sampsiceramus, King of Emesa, the Tetrarch of Abilene, and Ptolemy, King of Chalcis. At a later stage in his command Gabinius entered into such compacts with Ptolemy Auletes.

19.(↑)   The contract for the taxes of a given province would be put up to auction by the censors and bought by companies of publicani, whose gains depended on such surplus as their exactions might produce. It is probable that, when organizing Syria as a province, Pompey divided it into districts for the purposes of taxation. Each district collected its own taxes. But the sum to be collected was not fixed, but variable, being proportionate to the wealth of the district (probably a tithe of the produce). The state therefore required contractors to bargain with the representatives of the districts. The 'pactiones' mentioned by Cicero immediately below will then be the covenants entered into between the publicani and the districts collecting the taxes. Gabinius's action may have been in the interests of the provincials, whatever his motives may have been.

20.(↑)   A rhetorical way of stating that he protected the provincials against their exactions.

21.(↑)   Apparently troops employed as military police for the protection of the tax-farmers; they may well have been required in view of the disturbed state of the province. The Jews were in revolt and Arab raiders had given trouble.

22.(↑)   The finances of the state were in confusion (cp. Balb. 61). Over and above the drain upon their resources due to Caesar's campaigns in Gaul, and the disturbed state of the East, Clodius had drained the treasury almost dry. Gabinius and Piso had received all the money they demanded to equip their armies, Piso alone receiving eighteen million sesterces for this purpose (Pis. 86). The provision of free corn was a continual drain on the resources of the state.

23.(↑)   The leases were actually assigned by the censors, and were often of considerable duration. While five years was probably the normal period (the office of censor only recurring every five years), they were sometimes for much longer. As in all leases, there was a clause safeguarding the holder against 'vis maior', such as "enemy action".

24.(↑)   The details of this attempt are not known. Their recall would have been a blow struck at the triumvirs and Clodius as well as themselves. The date of the proposal was, as is shown by 'cum in provincias pervenissent', the spring or early summer of 57, and the attempt failed owing to the opposition of the triumvirs and Clodius (who during the early portion of the year had dominated Rome with his hired gangs).

25.(↑)   i.e. their commands in Syria and Macedonia.

26.(↑)   i. e. of Clodius, who had secured them their commands, of Pompey~the protector of Gabinius, and Caesar, the son-in-law of Piso.

27.(↑)   A 'supplicatio' was a public thanksgiving taking the form of prayers at all temples, sometimes accompanied by processions. The date of this refusal was the 15th May 56 (ad Q. F. ii. 6. i). Such refusal was very rare. See Phil. xiv. 24, where Cicero asserts that the present refusal was unique. Below, it is true, he cites the example of Albucius. But Albucius held a praetorian and Gabinius a consular command. The refusal was clearly due to a desire to spite Gabinius and his protectors.

28.(↑)   'Exostra' was a movable platform, similar to the better-known 'eccyclema', which was employed to reveal to the audience what had been going on behind the scenes; e.g. murdered bodies might be wheeled out upon it. 'Siparium' was a light inner curtain, not identical with the curtain ('aulaeum') concealing the stage from the audience, but concealing only a part of the stage. Previously Piso had the decency to revel in private, screened from the audience, now he has himself rolled out on the 'exostra'; i. e. flaunts his debauches before all the world.

29.(↑)   Although every holder of the military imperium was ipso facto an 'imperator', custom had decreed that the title should only be assumed after a decisive victory, though by the close of the republic the ambition of provincial governors had caused the most trivial successes to be recognized in this way. Cp. Phil. xiv. 11, "Who within the last twenty years has not been called imperator as a reward for the most trifling achievements or even for no achievements at all?"

30.(↑)   Propraetor of Sardinia about 117. He was subsequently condemned for extortion (Cic. de Div. 63).

31.(↑)   Presumably a rhetorical exaggeration for the Jews.

32.(↑)   The two consuls shortly to be elected, who would hold office in Rome in 55 and in their provinces in 54. The two proposals, here mentioned, must have been made by senior consulares, who had spoken earlier in the debate.

33.(↑)   The veto was not barred in the case of praetorian provinces, whereas under the Sempronian law it was prohibited in the case of consular provinces ('nunc non potest').

34.(↑)   If the tribune interposes his veto, as Cicero expects, Gabinius and Piso will retain their command till superseded by consuls in 54.

35.(↑)   Interruptions were only permitted on the part of a magistrate, in this case, the consul L. Philippus, whom Cicero addresses by name in § 21.

36.(↑)   Cicero indicates his disapproval of the revolutionary measures of the sons, the famous tribunes Tiberius and Gaius Gracchus.

37.(↑)   Tiberius Gracchus, the elder, was tribune of the plebs in 187. Eight of his colleagues had issued a decree ordering L. Scipio Asiaticus to be cast into prison on the charge of misappropriation of moneys received from king Antiochus, whom he had vanquished at the battle of Magnesia in 190. Tiberius Gracchus vetoed his colleagues and released Scipio. See Liv. xxxviii. 52 ; Val. Max. iv. 1.8; Gell. vi. 19.

38.(↑)   After the annihilation by the Cimbri of the Roman forces at Arausio on the Rhone in 105, the situation was so serious that Marius was elected consul, although absent from Rome and although a law had been passed in 180 B.C. forbidding re-election to the consulship, and was assigned the province of Gaul. See Plut. Mar. 12 .

39.(↑)   Consul 187 and 175 ; the builder of the Aemilian Way.

40.(↑)   'Annalium litteris' may refer to history or chronicles in general, or may have a limited and special reference to the Annals of Ennius, the 'summus poeta' here mentioned. M. Fulvius Nobilior was the friend and patron of Ennius, whom he took with him as the official poet of his campaign against the Aetolians in 189. The passage of Ennius recalling this reconciliation has not survived. Cp. Gell. xii. 8. 5 ; Val. Max. iv. 2. 1 ; Liv. xl. 45 ; Cic. Tusc. Disp. i. 2. 3.

41.(↑)   L. Marcius Philippus (tribune 104 or 103, consul 91), father of L. Marcius Philippus, consul in the year of this speech, quarrelled with other senators (e. g. L. Crassus) in opposing the proposals ot the tribune, Livius Drusus the younger, for the reform of the law courts in 91; but was reconciled with them when Drusus's recourse to violence closed the senate's ranks. See Ascon. in Corn., p. 61.

42.(↑)   Servilius had prosecuted the father of the Luculli, and had later been prosecuted unsuccessfully by M. and L. Lucullus ; see Plut. Luc. 1. Of the details of the reconciliation nothing is known.

43.(↑)   Q. Caecilius Metellus Nepos (trib. 62, cos. 57) had been a violent opponent of Cicero during his tribunate. The occasion of his reconciliation to which Cicero refers is a debate in the senate at the close of July or the beginning of August 57, when a decree was passed thanking all who had come to Rome in Cicero's support, threatening any who should oppose a bill for his recall, and inviting Cicero to return if no bill should be passed within the next five days. See Sest. 129 sqq.; Red. Sen. 25 sqq.

44.(↑)   Caesar.

45.(↑)   In Cicero's consulship.

46.(↑)   In 58, when, yielding to the advice of his friends, he left Rome to avoid bloodshed and civil strife. See Sest. 35-52.

47.(↑)   Clodius was accused of having in December 62 entered the house of Caesar disguised as a woman, and gained access to the mysteries of the Bona Dea which were being celebrated there. Clodius was a lover of Caesar's wife Pompeia, and it is to this that Cicero refers in 'turpissima libidine'. Clodius tried to prove an alibi, which was disproved by Cicero's evidence. Thanks to scandalous bribery Clodius was acquitted.

48.(↑)   Marius had been awarded five days ; cp. below (27), where the award of ten days in Pompey's honour is spoken of as 'doubling theperiod of thanksgiving'. In the second century five days was an exceptionally long period (cp. Liv. xlv. 2, where five days are awarded to Aemilius Paulus, the conqueror of Macedonia). But a few years after this speech we find a supplicatio of twenty days decreed in Caesar's honour (B.G. iv. 38), while Cicero proposes a supplicatio of fifty days m honour of the victory of Hirtius and Pansa over Antony at Mutina (Phil. xiv. 29).

49.(↑)   Money was voted to Caesar for the troops raised on his own authority. He had received three legions by the Lex Vatinia with Cisalpine Gaul, and one from the senate with Transalpine Gaul. He raised two more immediately, and yet another two in 57. See Dio xxxviii. 8. 5 ; Caes. B. G. i. 10; ii. 8. The grant passed the senate with little opposition, probably early in 56 ; see Cic. ad Fam. i. 7. 10. (No credence is to be placed in Orosius's statement (vi. 7. 1) that Caesar received seven legions from the senate and people.)

50.(↑)   As soon as a resolution had been passed by the senate, formal drafting became necessary, and for this purpose a committee of senators was chosen by the 'relator'. When the drafting was complete, the names of the senators forming the committee were prefixed to it. See ad Fam. viii. 8. 3.

51.(↑)   The normal number of legati attached to a consular command was three. Caesar's command covered two provinces, and he would thus have started with six. But ten was the normal number of commissioners appointed to organize a conquered province (Polyb. xxii. 24 ; Liv. xlv. 17), and it has been held that these ten legati were sent out to form such a commission (Dio xxxix. 25). But this does not seem to have been the case. If it had been, why should senators ask for precedents ('exempla quaerebant') ? They must have been intended to increase Caesar's military staff.

52.(↑)   The allusion is not to actual storms, but to the power of the pirates who were crushed by Pompey in 67.

53.(↑)   Bithynia and Syria are clearly two of the provinces to which he refers. What is the third? Possibly Cilicia. But Cilicia had been a Roman province since 102. The alternative is Pontus, which, although it was a new acquisition by Pompey, was united with Bithynia under one govenor.

54.(↑)   A reference to the defeats of Carbo, Silanus. Longinus, and Caepio in 113, 109, 107, 105 - more especially to the last of these at Arausio on the Rhone, when only ten men are said to have survived out of eighty thousand.

55.(↑)   C. Pomptinus was praetor in 63, and one of those who arrested the envoys of the Allobroges at the Mulvian bridge during the Catilinarian conspiracy. Hence Cicero's complimentary language. The envoys on being released were thanked for their loyalty to Rome, but obtained no substantial redress of their grievances. They rebelled in 61, and Pomptinus, then governor of Transalpine Gaul, only suppressed them after a hard struggle (Dio xxxvii. 47 ; xxxix. 65). They dwelt on the Rhone within the frontiers of the province.

56.(↑)   The original province of Gaul was but a comparatively narrow tract of territory, serving to give Rome a land-route to Spain along the via Domitia. Cicero therefore speaks of it as a mere lane through Gaul.

57.(↑)   A rhetorical exaggeration. He had but one child, Julia, the wife of Pompey. She died in 54.

58.(↑)   Pompey.

59.(↑)   The complimentary turn of phrase suggests that they were senior consulars, as indeed they must have been, seeing that they had already spoken in the debate. See § 17, where the two proposals are merely summarized in the single phrase 'alteram Galliam'.

60.(↑)   The Lex Vatinia, which the proposer regards as unconstitutional. Cicero takes the same view in the 'In Vatinium' (17, 21-23, 37), where he urges that the law was null and void because the intervention of the consul Bibulus, who announced unfavourable omens, had been disregarded, thereby transgressing the Aelian and Fufian laws (for which see note on § 46).

61.(↑)   i.e. a tribune who might veto the detachment of Cisalpine Gaul from Caesar's command on the ground that such a proposal contravened the Vatinian law. At first sight it would appear that the veto would be ruled out in this case also, since the appointment would be under the terms of the Sempronian law. But if the consul for 55 was to succeed to the province in 54, he would normally proceed to it at once, at the close of his year of office at Rome, and would arrive in Cisalpine Gaul early in 54, before the term allotted by the lex Vatinia (1 March 59-1 March 54) had expired. Under such circumstances the tribune might interpose his veto to prevent the contravention of the Lex Vatinia. Such seems the only possible explanation of a difficult passage.

62.(↑)   He proposed that Cisalpine Gaul should be one of the consular provinces, but like a good senator he respected the gift of the senate (Transalpine Gaul), and avoided controversy, such as might have been aroused by cutting across the provisions of the Lex Vatinia, although he did not regard it as a constitutional measure. That day he fixed for Caesar's successor, as is clear from what follows, was the 1st March 54. Thus the tribune could not interfere. On the other hand, as Cicero proceeds to show, such a proposal introduces fresh constitutional anomalies, not to say absurdities.

63.(↑)   The two consular provinces were by the Sempronian law to be selected before the election of the consuls. Therefore after their election arrangements must be made as to which consul should have which province. This might be done by private agreement (Dio, fr. III. 4 ; xxxvii. 33 ; Cic. Pis. 5 ; ad Fam. 1. 9. 25 ; Plut. Cic. 12 ; Sall. Cat. 26), or by lot, whereby the gods were held to give their verdict (Liv. xxx. 1, &c.).

64.(↑)   A rhetorical compliment. The consuls for the year were Cn. Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus and Lucius Marcius Philippus, both optimates. The phrase might refer to either. But ad Q. Fr. ii. 4 is in favour of Lentulus : 'Lentulus is an excellent consul, while his colleague does nothing to hamper him; indeed Lentulus is so good that I have never seen a better'.

65.(↑)   i. e. we must take care that after the consuls about to be elected, Cisalpine Gaul must not be given to any one against our will, by a popular enactment such as the Lex Vatinia; the appointment must be made under the Lex Sempronia.

66.(↑)   Gaius Visellius Varro, son of C. Aculeo, who married Helvia, the sister of Cicero's mother. Cp. de Or. ii. I. 2, and Brut. 264.

67.(↑)   The purchase and distribution of lands under Caesar's agrarian laws in 59 were placed in the hands of a commission of twenty ('vigintiviri'). But it is clear from ad Att. ii. 7. 4 that there were also quinqueviri associated with the execution of the laws. It has been held that the twenty were divided into four commissions of five, or that there was an inner board of quinqueviri (a Big Five) controlling the proceedings of the whole, or again that their functions were of a more or less ornamental character without serious practical importance. These quinqueviri are mentioned only here and in ad Att. l. c., though elsewhere Cicero speaks of the offer of a position as vigintivir (ad Att. ii. 19. 4 and ix. 2 a. 1).

68.(↑)   Caesar invited Cicero to accompany him as one of his legati. He further offered him a 'legatio libera voti causa', i. e. an embassy at public expense, granted to senators who for some personal reason desired to travel abroad ; in this case the reason alleged was the performance of a vow; it might equally well have been granted lor financial reasons such as the collection of a debt.

69.(↑)   The instrument chosen by Caesar to cripple Cicero was Clodius, whom he designed to make tribune of the plebs. To do this Clodius had to become a plebeian. For this his adoption into a plebeian family was necessary. This was carried out in 59, but had been planned in the preceding year.

70.(↑)   The same statement about Caesar's anger occurs in Sest. 16 (cp. also Sest. 39, 71 ; Pis. 80). Caesar had perhaps immediate cause for anger in the rumour that Cicero had attacked the proceedings of the triumvirate in his defence of Gaius Antonius, his former colleague in the consulship. At any rate Caesar carried through the transference of Clodius to the plebs at the comitia curiata on the afternoon of the same day (Dom. 41; Suet. Jul. 20).

71.(↑)   The crimes of the year 58. Clodius is the arch-villain, Gabinius and Piso merely his abettors.

72.(↑)   Caesar had good reason to fear for the safety of some of his enactments as consul. For later in 58 Clodius turned against the triumvirs and their agents. On Bibulus showing that Clodius' election as tribune was illegal because unfavourable omens had been announced at the assembly of the comitia curiata at which he was transferred to the plebs, Clodius began to urge that all the acta Caesaris, which had been carried in like defiance of the announcements of Bibulus, should be rescinded (Dom. 40).

73.(↑)   Pompey had given him this assurance; cp. ad Fam. i. 9. 12. For Pompey's goodwill in general see ad Att. iii. 13-15, 18, 22, 23. Pompey had great influence outside Rome and induced the senate of the colony of Capua to pass a resolution in favour of Cicero (Pis. 25; Mil. 39; Red. Sen. 29).

74.(↑)   The senate at their meeting in the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus at the end of July.

75.(↑)   Clearly violent opponents of the triumvirs such as Bibulus, Lentulus Spinther, L. Domitius. Cato cannot be meant, since he had not yet returned from Cyprus.

76.(↑)   Other laws passed in 59 were the Leges Vatiniae, (1) conferring Cisalpine Gaul on Caesar ; (2) giving power to both accused and accuser to challenge the whole list of jurors at once.

77.(↑)   Bibulus had done all he could to prevent them by declaring unfavourable omens (ad Att. ii. 16. 2; Dom. 41). His intervention had been ignored, and force had even been used, Bibulus on one occasion being driven by force of arms from the forum ( Vat. 18-22; Dio xxxviii. 6; Plut. Cat. 32).

78.(↑)   If a magistrate claimed to have seen an unfavourable omen, he announced the fact and all public business was suspended. This announcement was known as 'obnuntiatio' and was established and guaranteed by two laws, the Aelian and Fufian, passed about 153 (Pis. 9). It was convenient as a form of veto (Red. Sen. 11: 'certissima subsidia rei publicae contra tribunicios furores'), and was employed in the most cynical fashion. Clodius according to Cicero repealed these laws; that is to say, he repealed a portion of them dealing with the auspices.

79.(↑)   The Roman year was divided into 'dies nefasti' (on which no public business was possible), 'dies fasti' (on which the business of the law courts might be carried on), and 'dies comitiales' (on which alone the comitia might be summoned). The present passage would suggest that the distinction between 'dies fasti 'and 'dies comitiales' was introduced by the Aelian and Fufian laws.

80.(↑)   Cicero passes from Clodius' repeal of the Aelian and Fufian laws to his abolition of the right of the censors to strike senators off the roll; under the new law this was only permitted after the formal accusation and condemnation by both censors (Ascon. p. 8; Sest. 55; Dio xxxviii. 13, 14). Clodius' design was to prevent 'populares' from being arbitrarily removed from the senate.

81.(↑)   The optimates had supported Clodius when he turned against the triumvirs in the latter half of 58. Cp. Dom. 40 ; Har. Resp. 48 : Clodius had got Bibulus to declare that all Caesar's laws had been vetoed by his 'obnuntiatio' and were therefore illegal.

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