Cicero : Pro Scauro

This speech was delivered for M. Aemilius Scaurus, in 54 B.C. No complete manuscript of the speech has survived, and therefore there are many gaps in the text.

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

[1.] L   [1.1] What Marcus Scaurus, gentlemen of the jury, might most have prayed for was to retain, as he has ever been most anxious to do, the dignity of his race, his family, his reputation, without incurring the hatred of any or being the source of any offence or annoyance. [But since an unhappy destiny has so determined, it is not for him, he thinks, to shrink from meeting the same fortune as his father, ** who was repeatedly called upon by his foes to plead in his own defence.] . . .

He also underwent trial before the people at the instance of Gnaeus Domitius, ** tribune of the plebs. ...

[1].2 He was prosecuted by Quintus Servilius Caepio under the Servilian Law, ** at a time when the courts were in the hands of the equestrian order, and when, after the condemnation of Publius Rutilius, no one seemed so irreproachable as to be immune from fear of those courts. . . .

[1.3] By the same prosecutor that guardian of the republic was also indicted for treason under the Varian Law ** ; while shortly before he was assailed by Quintus Varius, tribune of the plebs. . . .

[1.4] For not only did I admire the man, as all did, but also my affection for him was above the common ; for he it was who first awoke my ardent ambition to a hope that merit without assistance from fortune might attain to its goal by dint of energy and persistence. . ..

And since the accusation has been loaded with a veritable pile of charges, but without any particular discrimination or variety of kind . . .

[2.]   [2.1] A man of the name of Bostar, a native of Nora, who was fleeing from Sardinia before Scaurus's arrival, [was by my client's malicious blandishments, so Triarius alleges, recalled from his flight, welcomed at his hospitable board, poisoned by his host], and buried even before Scaurus's supper had been removed. [2.2] [How groundless, gentlemen, is this suspicion of poisoning will at once appear if you will but reflect] upon the causes from which sudden death may arise. . . .

[2.3] Scaurus was so happily situated that not only did he retain his possessions with the utmost ease, but was rather in a position to acquire new ones than to sell what he possessed. Very well then, Triarius, now that I have defended Scaurus, it will be for you to defend the mother of Bostar, who is herself, as I contend, implicated in this charge. . . .

[2.4] I have further refuted your statement that you were afraid you might not have been solvent, and that the defendant might have wished to keep the property which had been proscribed, had he not, Bostar having died intestate, managed the affair as though the inheritance belonged to himself, and as though this in itself did not seem to him sufficient reason for poisoning Bostar. If, then, he could not possibly have taken possession of that property save by the death of Bostar ...

[2.5] I swear, gentlemen, that even were I speaking on behalf of Lucius Tubulus, ** who is reported to have been quite the most wicked and unscrupulous character in history, none the less, supposing he were said to have poisoned some guest or friend during dinner, though he was not his heir and had no quarrel with him, I should not expect anybody to believe it. . . .

[2.6] I pass now to the charge of incontinence and unbridled lust, with which the prosecutor has endeavoured to brand Scaurus and his reputation. We are told that Aris, not desiring to surrender his wife, with whom my client was in love, to his burning lust and unrestrained concupiscence, attempted to escape secretly from Sardinia. [2.7] He left his wife in the country, that is to say, and sought to secure his own safety by flight, just as beavers, so we are told, ransom themselves from the hunters by that part of their body on account of which they are chiefly hunted. . . . **

[3.] L   [1] This, gentlemen, is, I assert, the state of the case. My argument is not a new one; it has been discussed by others; but its truth can be substantiated by examples. . . . Those are instances of which we have been told, but this we remember and have all but seen - how Publius Crassus ** of the same lineage and name destroyed himself that he might not fall into the hands of his enemies. . . .

[2] Manius Aquilius, ** too, though he had attained to the same honours, and brave man though he had shown himself in war, could not imitate the action of the elder Crassus, ** but by the infamy of his old age he besmirched the memory of his youth and of his high deeds. Again, could the illustrious Julii or the great general Marcus Antonius have imitated the conduct of the other Crassus? at the same period ? [3] Further, in all the records of Greece, richer in fine words than in fine actions, whom can we find, apart from Ajax and the tragic plots, who, as the poet says,

in victory's haughty hour
  Brooked not defeat at fell dishonour's hand, **

save only Themistocles the Athenian, who with his own hand wrought his death? [4] The Greeks do, indeed, invent many tales, as for instance that in which they tell us that Cleombrotus ** the Ambracian threw himself down from a high wall, not because he had suffered any mortification, but because, as I find it recorded by Greek writers, after having read an eloquently and elegantly written book on the subject of death by the great philosopher Plato, wherein, I believe, Socrates, on the very day on which he was to die, argues at length that this which we fancied to be life is really death, the soul being confined in the body as in a prison, while that was true life when this same soul, released from the bonds of the body, betook itself again to the place whence it sprang.

[4.] L   [5] Had, then, your Sardinian woman ** any knowledge of, had she read, Pythagoras or Plato ** And yet even these teachers, though they praise death, forbid us to fly from life," asserting that such conduct is a violation of the compact and law of nature. And in truth you will assuredly find no other reason to justify a voluntary death. This the prosecutor realised ; for he dropped a hint somewhere that that woman preferred to be despoiled of her life rather than of her chastity [6] ; but he straightway abandoned the subject, and said no more on the theme of chastity, fearing, no doubt, to provide us with a handle for jest and mockery ; for it is notorious that her ugliness was as extreme as her old age. This being the case, however saucy the lady from Sardinia may have been, can there be any suspicion of love or licentiousness in connexion with her ?

[5.] L   [7] And that you may not imagine, Triarius, that my allegations are an invention of my own, not drawn from information furnished by the defendant, I will lay before you the impressions that were current in Sardinia (there were two such) concerning the woman's death; so that the jury may even more easily [be enabled to realise both the innocence of Scaurus, the effrontery of your witnesses, and the shocking nature of what occurred. [8] Aris, the husband of that woman of Sardinia,] had for a long time loved the [mother of Bostar] - you I mean ** - a licentious and unscrupulous woman, living with her in shameless and notorious adultery. He was afraid of his wife, who was old, wealthy, and ill-tempered ; but though her ugliness made him unwilling to keep her for his wife, her dowry made him unwilling to divorce her. So in agreement with Bostar's mother he planned that they should both come to Rome; and he promised that there he would discover some means of making her his wife.

[6.] L   [9] There were, as I have pointed out, two impressions current - one of them not out of keeping with the circumstances and nature of the case - that the wife of Aris, stung with resentment at her husband's infidelity, when she heard that Aris, pretending to have fled for fear of herself, had gone off to Rome with his lady love, intending to convert their previous irregular union into formal wedlock, now betrayed all the anguish of the outraged female, and had preferred to die rather than tolerate it. [10] The other was not less probable and, as I believe, even more generally held in Sardinia ; it was to the effect that Aris, your witness and host, Triarius, had on his departure for Rome commissioned a freedman not indeed to use violence to the poor old lady - such conduct towards his mistress would have been irregular ! - but just to press her neck with two fingers and to fasten a bit of cord round it, so that it might be supposed that she had met her death by hanging. [11] This suspicion carried all the greater weight, because the season at which the freedman alleged she had hanged herself was the time when the people of Nora were holding their festival of the Dead ** and had all, after their due custom, left the city. Such departure and the resulting solitude was just what a man who intended to throttle his mistress would look for, but not so a woman who wished to die. [12] But the suspicion received confirmation from the fact that on the old woman's death the freedman immediately started for Rome as if his commission were executed; while Aris, as soon as the freedman had brought him news of his wife's death, forthwith married Bostar's mother at Rome.

[7.] L   [13] See now, gentlemen, to what families, how foul, how polluted, how degraded, you are called upon to surrender the family of Scaurus! See who are the witnesses by whom you are to be influenced and upon how great a man, how noble in birth, how proud in name you are to record your vote! Think you that you should be unmindful of the crimes of mothers against their children, of husbands against their wives? You see lust commingled with cruelty, lust unnatural; you have before you, rendered hideous by every enormity and wickedness, the authors of two dastardly charges, charges by which, in the eyes of the ill-informed or the prejudiced, disrepute has been thrown upon our whole cause.

[8.] L   [14] In these charges, then, gentlemen, does there yet lurk a breath of suspicion ? Have they not been purged, refuted, shattered? And how has this been brought about? It is because you have vouchsafed to me, Triarius, something which I could dispel, which I could dilate upon and discuss, because the nature of the charges was such that they did not entirely depend upon the witness, but might be weighed by the judge upon their own merits. [15] And indeed, gentlemen, when we are dealing with a witness of whom we know nothing, we ought not to do anything else save inquire by argument, conjecture, and suspicion into the significance and true nature of the facts he alleges. For a witness, not an African only, - or for that matter a Sardinian, ** if that is how they prefer to be described - but any witness whatever, even though refined and scrupulous, may be swayed, deterred, moulded, diverted; he is himself sole master of his own wishes, and has free leave to tell lies as he pleases. [16] But an argument, such as is suited to the case in hand - and no other can properly be called an argument - which is the voice of fact, the print of nature, the mark of truth - that, whatever its nature, must needs remain immutable ; for it is not invented, but employed, by the pleader. So, should I be worsted when the charges took that shape, I should bow my head and retire, for I should be worsted at every point, worsted in the cause, worsted in the truth. [17] Are you going to bring against me battalions and phalanxes of Sardinians, and try, not to overwhelm me with charges, but to terrify me with the roars of Africans? I shall not in that event be in a position to dispute with you, but I shall at least be able to fling myself upon the honour and mercy of these gentlemen, upon the jurymen's regard for their oath, upon the equity of the Roman people, which had decreed that this family shall be eminent in their city ; I shall be able to implore the protection of the immortal gods, who have ever shown themselves the upholders of this race and of this name.

[9.] L   [18] "He demanded, requisitioned, seized, extorted." If you, my friend, can prove that by the account-books (since the very keeping of books does bring a sort of system and sequence into business transactions), then I will attend carefully and consider how I am to proceed in my defence. If you rely upon witnesses (let their names be but known to us, I ask not that they should be good and respectable men), then I will reflect how I am to wrestle with each severally. [19] But if there be but one complexion, one voice, one nationality among all the witnesses, if they make no attempt to establish their allegations by any kind of official or unofficial document (though even these can be forged), let alone by any arguments, then, gentlemen, which way am I to turn, or what am I to do? Am I to argue with each one separately ? . . . ** You had nothing to give. He will say that he had. Who knows that? Who is to decide that there was no reason? He will make out that there was. How are we to refute him, and establish that he might have abstained from giving, had he not wished to do so? He will say that it was extorted. What eloquence is able by means of argument to confound the impudence of one whom you do not know? [10.] L   [20] I will not therefore deal with your gang of Sardinian conspirators and their perjuries so ingeniously elicited, wrung, and wheedled from them, nor will I amass painfully elaborated arguments to refute them ; no, I will meet onset with onset in front-to-front encounter. Not for me to drag each individual successively from your ranks and fight a series of single combats to the death ; at one fell swoop the whole army must be routed. [21] For there is one most important charge in the matter of corn which concerns the whole of Sardinia, and upon which Triarius has examined all the Sardinians ; it is a point which has been supported by the one concerted testimony of all those who gave evidence. And before I touch upon this charge, I beg you, gentlemen, to allow me to lay down certain fundamental principles that shall govern my whole defence; if these are once well and truly laid in accordance with my purpose and expectation, there is no part of the prosecution that I shall have to fear.

[22] I shall first speak upon the general nature of the accusation, then upon the Sardinians, next briefly about Scaurus; and when I have thus cleared the ground, I shall proceed to deal with this horrible and formidable charge concerning the corn.

[11.] L   [23] What, then, is the nature of this accusation, Triarius? In the first place, of such a nature, that you have not really inquired into it. What was at the back of your spirited, your convinced assurance that you could work my client's downfall ? When I was a boy I think I remember hearing that Lucius Aelius, a cultured and witty freedman, in avenging wrongs suffered by his patron, laid a suit against Quintus Mutto, a quite contemptible person ; and when he was asked in what province he demanded to make his investigation or how many days he would want for raising his evidence, he requested that he might be given until two o'clock - time enough to make inquiries in the cattle-market. [24] Did you think that this was all you needed to do in the case of Aemilius Scaurus? "Yes," he replies, "for the whole case was reported to me at Rome." Well, did not the Sicilians ** report to me the whole of the Sicilian business at Rome? They were men sagacious by nature, shrewd by experience, accomplished by education; yet in spite of this 1 thought it my duty to go to the province itself to acquire understanding and knowledge of the province's cause. [25] Was it not right for me to inquire into the grievances and wrongs of the cultivators amid their crops and their furrows? Yes, Triarius, in the throes of a rigorous winter I tramped the valleys and hills of the people of Agrigentum ; it was the fair and fertile plain of Leontini that instructed me, I might almost say, in my brief. I visited the huts of the labourers; [26] I talked with men at the very plough-handle; and the result was that I treated my brief in so vivid a fashion, that the jury seemed not so much to listen to the facts which I detailed as to see and all but touch them. Indeed, it seemed to me neither convincing nor honest that, having taken upon me the protection of a loyal and ancient province, I should con my brief in chambers, as if it had been that of a single client.

[12.] L   [27] Recently, when the people of Reate ** who were adherents of my own, wished me to plead the cause of their state before our present consuls in the matter of the channels and subterranean ducts of the Velinus, I thought that I should not be acting as the dignity of that important prefecture or my own sense of honour demanded, were I not to be instructed in my brief not by the inhabitants alone, but by the place and the lake itself. [28] Nor would you, Triarius, have acted otherwise, had your Sardinians wished you so to act; but as a matter of fact that you should go to Sardinia was the last thing they desired, for they feared lest you might discover a wide divergence between the reality and the report you had received - that the masses of Sardinia had no grievance, and that the inhabitants had no hatred against Scaurus. . . .

[13.] L   [29] . . . [I did not adjourn my case until, even as Jupiter buried beneath an island's weight the charred and prostrate Typhon, whose panting,] ** they say, keeps Etna aflame, so I had buried Verres beneath the evidence of all Sicily. You adjourned your case ** when but a single witness had been produced. And what a witness, O immortal gods! It was not enough that he was but one, that he was unknown, that he was a man of no character; did you not ruin the first hearing of the case too by employing as witness Valerius, who through the kindness of your father had been presented with the franchise, and who requited that kindness to you not by signal services, but by barefaced perjury ? [30] You may possibly have been swayed by the omen of the name you share with him ** ; but we, counting it as we do, in traditional fashion, as a happy augury, interpret this as a promise of success to ourselves, not of disaster. [14.] L   But all your precipitancy and impatience in bringing to a summary end the investigation and all the earlier action has turned a searchlight upon the truth, which was however no secret before, that this trial was instituted not in the interests of justice, but to affect the consular elections.

[31] It is not my purpose at this juncture, gentlemen, by any statement I may make to lay aspersions upon that gallant consul and accomplished gentleman Appius Claudius, ** who is, I trust, bound to myself by a loyal and lasting reconciliation. For the part he has played has been either that of one who was prompted to undertake it by his own resentment and suspicion, or of one who demanded the part for himself, because either he did not realise whom he was attacking, or thought that reconciliation would be an easy matter. [32] For myself, I will say no more than the case demands, without the least flavour of harshness or severity towards Appius. For what suggestion of disrepute can be conveyed by stating that Appius Claudius was the enemy of Marcus Scaurus? Was not Appius's grandfather an enemy to Publius Africanus? Was he not an enemy to myself? Was I not an enemy to him? These enmities may perhaps at one time or another have caused grief to each of us, but disgrace never. [33] It was a case of successor being jealous of successor ; the one wished all possible failure to the other, in order that his own memory might be more conspicuous. This is a state of things which, so far from being foreign to our habits, is perfectly normal and exceedingly frequent. [15.] L   But so ordinary a condition of affairs would in itself have had no influence whatever upon so wise and broad-minded a man as Appius Claudius, had he not thought that my client intended to stand against his brother Gaius Claudius in the elections.

[34] He, whether he was a patrician or a plebeian ** - he had not yet quite made up his mind on the point - thought that the main struggle would be against my client; while Appius thought that it would be the more severe, because he remembered that his brother in standing for the pontificate, for the priesthood of Mars {Salii}, and for other offices, had stood as a patrician. For this reason he was unwilling that his brother should meet with a rebuff while he himself was consul, and at the same time he saw that, were he a patrician, he would be no match for Scaurus, unless he could render him impotent by intimidation or by robbing him of his character. ** [35] Am I to hold that no allowance should be made to a brother for such conduct when his brother's advancement to high office is at stake, realising as I do, beyond all other men perhaps, all the power of fraternal affection ? "Yes," it may be objected, "but his brother is not now a candidate." What of that? If he found himself tied to the spot by the prayers of all Asia, ** and if in deference to the appeal of the men of business, the tax-farmers, and of all men, allies and citizens alike, he preferred the advantage and welfare of the province to his own promotion, is that a reason why you should think that feelings once embittered could so easily have been appeased ?

[16.] L   [36] At the same time, in all such matters, popular impression, especially in the minds of barbarians, often carries greater weight than fact itself. The Sardinians were convinced that they could not better ingratiate themselves with Appius than by disparaging Scaurus's character; at the same time they are swayed by the hope of considerable gain and emolument to themselves; they think that a consul is omnipotent, especially when he goes out of his way to make them promises. [37] On this head I will say no more ; but what I have said, I have said just as if I were Appius's brother - not as he has spoken who is his brother (and he has spoken at length), but in the character which I have always manifested towards my own brother. It is your duty, then, gentlemen, to resist at every point an accusation of this kind, in which you see that nothing has been done according to precedent, nothing with moderation, nothing with circumspection or disinterestedness, but on the contrary everything has been undertaken dishonestly, seditiously, precipitately, hot-heatedly, by means of conspiracy, absolute power, undue influence, promises, and intimidation.

[17.] L   [38] I pass now to the witnesses; and I shall demonstrate not merely that there is no confidence or authority to be placed in them, but that they have not even the semblance or similitude of witnesses. In the first place, their credibility is destroyed by their very unanimity, which was exposed in the reading ** of the compact and conspiracy entered into by the Sardinians. It is destroyed in the second place by their covetousness, which was roused by the hope and promise of rewards, and, finally, by their national character itself, which is so utterly worthless that they imagine that freedom is to be distinguished from slavery only by the licence which it gives for the telling of lies. [39] I am far from asserting that we ought never to be influenced by any statement of grievances made by Sardinians; I am not so inhuman or so lacking in sympathy towards that people, especially seeing that my brother has only just left their island after having been sent thither by Gnaeus Pompeius to supervise their corn-supply, in which capacity he exerted all his integrity and humanity in their interest, and was in return very much esteemed and beloved by them. [40] By all means let a refuge be found here open to indignation, open to just grievances; but let the way be barred to conspiracy, let the gates be shut upon intrigue ; and that not more in the case of the Sardinians than in that of the Gauls, the Africans, the Spaniards.

[18.] L   Titus Albucius ** and Gaius Megaboccus both suffered condemnations that had their origin in Sardinia, though many Sardinians spoke in praise of them. In these cases the very variety of the evidence lent it greater credit ; for they were convicted by impartial evidence and by documents which had not been tampered with. [41] But in the present case there is a single voice and a single purpose, not wrung forth by indignation, but counterfeited by hypocrisy; not stirred by outrages inflicted by my client, but by the promises and the bribes of others. "But," it is alleged, "there have been times when the Sardinians have been believed." Yes, and perhaps they will be believed again some day, if they come with honest hearts, unbribed and unprompted, not impelled from without, but free of obligation or restraint. And even though all these conditions are fulfilled, still let it be with joy and wonder that they find themselves believed. But when none of these conditions are fulfilled, will they still be blind to their national character? Will they not shudder at the name their race has won ? **

[19.] L   [42] All the records and histories of past ages have established for us the tradition that the Phoenicians are the most treacherous of nations. The Poeni, their offshoots, proved by the many warlike outbreaks of the Carthaginians, and by their repeated violation and infringement of treaties, that they had not degenerated from their forefathers. The Sardinians, who are sprung from the Poeni with an admixture of African blood, were not planted in Sardinia and settled there, but rather marooned there as undesirables. [43] Since, then, the uncontaminated stock was so utterly unsound, must we not think that it has become sadly soured by constant intermixture ? And here my old and intimate friend the accomplished Gnaeus Domitius Sincaius will pardon me, and all those who had the franchise conferred on them by the same Gnaeus Pompeius will pardon me, for in spite of all we are availing ourselves to-day of their favourable testimony. Other worthy gentlemen too from Sardinia (for I believe there are some such) will pardon me ; [44] nor indeed, when I pass an indictment upon a nation, do I make no exceptions. But I am forced to speak of the race in general terms ; and in that race it may well be that some individuals have by their own characters and human qualities risen superior to the vices of their stock and their tribe ; but that the large majority of them are devoid of honour, devoid of any fellowship or bond with our race, is patently proved by the facts. For what province is there save Sardinia that does not contain a single state that is a friend of the Roman people, and free? [45] Africa, which is herself the parent of Sardinia, and which waged many bitter wars against our ancestors, maintained itself, as Utica can testify, free of all participation in the Punic Wars, not only in its staunchly loyal kingdoms, but in the province itself. Further, Spain, by the death of the Scipios . . . [20.] L   . . . impotent in resources, treacherous in national character. . . . What in perdition's name is your idea? He was not cowed by the kingly purple, and did Sardinian sheepskins ** make him blench? When you hear that name, which is bruited among all nations, may you too entertain the same sentiments with regard to that noble family as are entertained by the wisdom of the whole world. . . .

[21.]   ** For when out of the large number of his father's enemies there remained Dolabella alone, who had joined Quintus Caepio his relative in signing a deposition against his father Scaurus, he thought that filial duty made it incumbent upon him to carry on the feud, as one which had been bequeathed to him, not contracted by himself . . .

. . . especially seeing that the accessibility and populousness of the site removes all suspicion of laziness or avarice ** . . . [22.]   . . . furthermore, I, who have pillars of Alban marble, have had them conveyed in panniers . . .

. . . You had no house, perhaps? But you had one. You had plenty of money, perhaps? But you were in need. You ran your foolish head against those columns; you were frantic with avarice for what did not belong to you; you thought that a dilapidated, darkened, and demolished house was worth more than yourself and your fortunes. . . .

. . . Though you were unable to avoid this argument, will you still face the matter out, and demand that Marcus Aemilius, with all his own merits and all the splendid memory of his father and the fame of his grandfather, should be sacrificed to a mean, shallow, and superficial nation and to witnesses whom I had well-nigh described as skin-clad ?

[23.] L   [46] On every hand I find matter for my use in the defence of Marcus Scaurus, wheresoever my mind - nay, wheresoever my eyes turn. The senate-house there bears witness to you of the dignified and intrepid eminence held by his father ; while Lucius Metellus himself, my client's grandfather, may be thought to have set up the most holy gods in that temple full in your view, in order that they might win from you the deliverance of his grandson, inasmuch as they have often lent their aid to many suppliants and distressed persons. ** [47] Yonder Capitol, proud with its three temples, the approaches to that of Jupiter Best and Greatest, of Queen Juno, and of Minerva, adorned with the gifts of my client's father and with his own most generous ones, by the recollection of such public generosity and liberality defend Marcus Scaurus before you from every suspicion of avarice or self-seeking. [48] And yonder neighbouring temple of Vesta bids you remember that Lucius Metellus, who, as pontifex maximus, when the temple was ablaze, hurled himself into the thickest of the fire and snatched from the flames that Palladium which is the earnest of our well-being and our empire, and which lies in the safe keeping of Vesta. Would that he could be among us again but for a moment! Then assuredly, as he snatched from those fires of old the heaven-sent pledge of our security, so from these flames would he snatch his descendant. . . .

[24.] L   [49] But as for you, Marcus Scaurus, I see you with my eyes, not merely think upon you, nor is it without great grief and sorrow of mind that I call you to memory, when I look upon your son's disarray. And would that, even as the image of you has haunted my vision throughout this whole trial, you might so confront the thoughts of these gentlemen and cleave fast within their minds. I swear that the aspect [of such a man, whose peer we have never seen in wisdom, dignity, resolution, and all other virtues, if he could but live again, would move you all so deeply that whoever looked upon him], even had he perchance never known him, would yet assert him to be a man of light and leading in our state. [50] And now in what terms am I to address you? As a man? But you are no longer living among us. As one dead? Nay, you are in full physical vigour, you are present to the minds and visible to the eyes of all; and your divine mind had nothing in it that was mortal, nor could anything that was yours die, save your body. In whatever terms, therefore, it be right that I address you, stand at our side . . .


{ These extracts have been expanded here to provide a continuous translation of Asconius' introduction and postscript to the speech }

[18] L   Cicero delivered this speech also in the same year as his speech for Vatinius, when L. Domitius Ahenobarbus and Appius Claudius Pulcher were consuls {54 B.C.}. The final day of the trial was 2nd September.

M. Scaurus was the son of the M. Scaurus who was princeps senatus, and step-son of Sulla. When Sulla was victorious and acted with great generosity towards his associates in the victory, Scaurus was so restrained that he did not wish to receive any gifts and did not buy anything at auction. As aedile he had spent money so lavishly as to impair his wealth and contract vast debts. As propraetor he held the province of Sardinia, where he was reported to have acted with rapacity and arrogance. In this behaviour he seemed to be similar to his father, although in other respects he was much less assiduous than his father. For some time he was an advocate at the bar, and after retiring from his province was counsel to C. Cato and won his acquittal on 4th Quintilis {July}. After he returned to Rome on 28th June to stand as candidate for the consulship, complaints were laid against him by the Sardinians, and he was arraigned for extortion by P. Valerius Triarius before M. Cato the praetor, as is recorded in the Acts, on 6th Quintilis, two days after Cato was acquitted. Triarius was a young man of ready speech and great industry; [19] he was the son of the Triarius who fought against M. Lepidus in Sardinia and who afterwards was the legate of L. Lucullus in Asia and Pontus, when Lucullus was waging war against Mithridates.

Triarius was assisted in the case against Scaurus by L. Marius, son of Lucius, and the brothers M. and Q. Pacuvius, who had the cognomen Claudius. They were accorded thirty days to pursue investigations in the island of Sardinia and thirty in the island of Corsica, but they did not visit the islands, alleging as their excuse that the consular elections would take place in the meantime, when they were afraid lest Scaurus might use the money he had wrested from the allies to purchase the consulship, and, following the example of his father, enter into the magistracy before he could be brought to trial, and again despoil other provinces before he could be made to render an account of his previous governorship. Scaurus relied on his father's reputation and his intimacy with Cn. Pompeius Magnus. He had a son who was the half-brother of the children of Cn. Pompeius, because he had married Mucia Tertia, the daughter of Scaevola, after she was divorced by Pompeius. He feared, however, that M. Cato - who, as we said, was presiding at the trial - might be influenced by his friendship with Triarius ; for Flaminia the mother of Triarius and also Triarius himself were close friends of Servilius the sister of Cato, who was the mother of Brutus, and Cato respected Servilia like a mother. But in fact during the trial Pompeius gave him no significant help; for he seemed [20] to have been no less offended by him - because he thought that Scaurus had disregarded his judgment in divorcing Mucia on a charge of unchastity, since he had then approved her as his wife - than he was favourable to him on account of their connection, because they both had children by the same woman. Nor did Cato deviate in any way from the fair-minded behaviour that was typical of his life in general and of that magistracy. However, three days after Scaurus was accused, the quaestor Faustus Sulla, son of Sulla Felix - who was the brother by the same mother of Scaurus - after some of his slaves had been wounded, jumped out of his litter and complained that he had almost been killed by the opponents of Scaurus, and that he would go about with four hundred armed men so that he could meet force with force, if necessary.

Scaurus was defended by six counsels - although at that time it was rare for anyone to be defended by more than four, but after the civil wars, before the Lex Julia, the numbers rose to as many as twelve counsels - P. Clodius Pulcher, M. Marcellus, M. Calidius, M. Cicero, M. Messala Niger, Q. Hortensius. Scaurus also spoke himself, and deeply moved the jury by his squalor and tears, reminding them of his open-handed aedileship, his popularity, and particularly his father's reputation.

* * *

[28] L   Nine ex-consuls deposed to Scaurus' good character: L. Piso, L. Volcacius, Q. Metellus Nepos, M. Perpenna, L. Philippus, M. Cicero, Q. Hortensius, P. Servilius Isauricus the father, Cn. Pompeius Magnus.The majority of them made their depositions in writing, because they were absent, including Pompeius, who was staying outside the city because he was proconsul. Scaurus was also commended by one young man: his half-brother Faustus Cornelius, the son of Sulla, who by speaking much with dejection and tears moved the audience no less than Scaurus had moved them. The supporters of Scaurus divided themselves into two groups, in order to implore at the knees of the judges when they cast their votes: on one side Scaurus himself and M'. Glabrio, his sister's son, and L. Paulus and P. Lentulus, the son of Lentulus Niger the flamen, and L. Aemilius Buca the son, and C. Memmius, the son of Fausta, approached as suppliants; on the other side, Sulla Faustus, the half-brother of Scaurus, and T. Annius Milo, who had married Fausta a few months previously after she was divorced by Memmius, and C. Peducaeus and C. Cato and M. Laenas Curtianus.

Votes were registered by twenty-two senators, twenty-three knights, and twenty-five tribuni aerarii ; of these four senators, two knights, and two tribuni voted for conviction.

[29] When Cicero demanded that a consultation be held about the accusers, and many of the the people made threatening gestures against the accusers, the praetor Cato yielded to the ignorant crowd and on the next day he held a consultation about the alleged malicious behaviour of the accusers. No-one voted to condemn P. Triarius, but of his assistants M. and Q. Pacuvius received ten adverse votes and L. Marius received three adverse votes.

As the trial was held in warm weather, the praetor Cato presided over the trial wearing no tunic but only a loin-cloth beneath his toga. He also went down to the forum and gave judgments there dressed in the same manner, asserting that this was an ancient custom, from the fact that Romulus and Tatius, in their statues on the Capitol, and Camillus, in his statue on the rostra, were represented in togas without tunics.


1.   Consul 115, censor 109, princeps senatus for twenty-five years, convicted of scandalous corruption in war with Jugurtha (111).

2.   Scaurus was charged by Domitius with having neglected the ceremonies as augur, 104.

3.   Lex Serv. Glauciae (111) facilitated legal action against provincial governors for extortion. Rutilius was an irreproachable senator convicted under it by an equestrian jury (92).

4.   Set up a commission to try for treason those who supported Italian demand for franchise (91).

5.   L. Hostilius T., praetor 142, a victim of the satirist Lucilius.

6.   The substance of the passage lost here seems to have been this: the wife of Aris, so the prosecutor alleges, killed herself to avoid the importunities of Scaurus. In the following sections C. quotes some famous suicides, and then (§ 5) urges that such suicide on the part of Aris's wife is incredible.

7.   This Crassus can scarce be other than the son of the triumvir, who commanded the cavalry with his father at Carrhae, 53; Asconius must surely be wrong in calling him father of the triumvir.   The two Crassi mentioned below ('illius C. superioris . . . alterum C.') are not easy to identify. I translate Asconius's comment on 'alterum C.' :   "This 'other Crassus' is the same of whom we have spoken above [i.e. the C. first mentioned]. He calls him "the other" because he has already made mention of the P. Crassus who was Pont. Max. and in the war against Aristonicus in Asia had A. put to death."

8.   Commanded against Mithradates (91), by whom he was captured and put to death.

9.   See note on § 1.

10.   Source unknown.

11.   See the epigram of Callimachus upon him, Anth. Pal. vii. 471.

12.   i.e., the wife of Aris.

13.   Plato, Phaedo, 61 o ff. ; cp. Tennyson, Lucretius :
  Whether I mean this day to end myself,
  Or lend an ear to Plato where he says,
  That men like soldiers may not quit the post
  Allotted by the gods.

14.   C. addresses the woman, who is present in court.

15.   The Parentalia, when visits were paid to the tombs of ancestors, and offerings laid upon them. The dead were always buried outside the city walls.

16.   The population of S. was largely of Carthaginian stock.

17.   A gap in the mss. here. C. apparently imagines himself interrogating witnesses who alleged that Scaurus had extorted money from them.

18.   C. refers to his prosecution of Verres, 70.

19.   C. refers to this case in Ad Att. iv. 15.

20.   The words in brackets translate Beier's suggested completion of the sentence.

21.   If a trial was not finished on the first day, it was adjourned to the next but one ('perendie').

22.   Valerius had taken the name of his enfranchiser, P. V. Triarius; the name suggests a favourable omen because of its connexion with 'valeo'.

23.   He was brother of P. Clodius, and in 53 preceded C. as governor of Cilicia, where he fleeced and oppressed the provincials. C. expresses dislike of him in intimate letters, but was at pains to be outwardly on good terms with him, as he was a man of influential connexions.

24.   "C. is poking mild fun at C. Claudius. . . . As he was brother to P. Clodius, who had ignominiously passed from a patrician to a plebeian family [by adoption] he says that Gaius too was still hesitating." Asconius.

25.   C. is still sarcastic, in allusion to the transference of P. Clodius to the plebeians, effected to enable him to stand for the tribunate.

26.   C. Claudius had his command in Asia extended for a further year, and so withdrew his candidature.

27.   i.e., during the hearing of evidence, C.'s language here suggests an actual incriminating document, but he is probably only suggesting that the unanimity of the witnesses is a proof of conspiracy.

28.   Convicted for extortion 103.

29.   They were proverbially faithless; cf. Ad fam. vii. 24 'habes Sardos venales, alium alio nequiorem.'

30.   The Sardinian national garb.

31.   The following chapter is too fragmentary to be intelligible. We gather that the prosecutor had attacked S. on the ground of extravagant building, a charge which C. retorts upon him.

32.   "C. is defending S.'s possession of so magnificent house." (Asconius.) His note on the passage (too long to quote here) is interesting.

33.   The temple is that of Castor and Pollux, which Metellus had restored.

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