Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 26 Cic. Flac. 33 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 38

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31 But if, when Flaccus was praetor, there had been not one pirate at sea, still his diligence would not have deserved to be blamed. For I should think that the reason of there being no pirates at sea was, because he had a fleet. What will you say if I prove by the evidence of Lucius Oppius, of Lucius Agrius, of Caius Cestius, Roman knights, and also of this most industrious man here present, Cnaeus Domitius, who was an ambassador in Asia at the time, that at that very time in which you yourself affirm that there was no need of a fleet, numbers of men were taken prisoners by the pirates? Still, will the wisdom of Flaccus, as shown in raising crews for the fleet, be found fault with? What if a man of high rank, a citizen of Adramyttium, was even slain by the pirates,—a man whose name is known to nearly all of us, Atyanas the boxer, a victor at Olympia? and this victory is considered among the Greeks (since we are speaking of their wisdom) a greater and more glorious thing than to have had a triumph is reckoned at Rome. “But you took no prisoners.” How many most illustrious men have had the command of the sea-coast, who, though they had taken no pirate prisoner, still made the sea safe? For taking prisoners depends on chance, on place, on accident, on opportunity. And the caution which shows itself in defence has an easy task; being aided not only by lurking places in concealed spots, but by the sudden fall or change of winds and weather.

ch. 14

32

The last thing that we have to inquire into is, whether that fleet really sailed with oars and sails, or only on paper, and as far as the expense went. Can that then be denied, of which all Asia is witness, that the fleet was distributed into two divisions, so that one division should sail above Ephesus, the other below Ephesus? in the one fleet Marcus Crassus, that most noble man, sailed from Aenas to Asia, with the other division Flaccus sailed from Asia to Macedonia. In what then is it that we look in vain for the diligence of the praetor? Is it in the number of the ships or in the equal division of the expense? He demanded just one half the fleet which Pompeius required. Could he be more economical? And he divided the expense according to the proportions settled by Pompeius, which was adapted to the division made by Sulla, who, when he had arranged all the cities in Asia according to the proportion that they were to bear of the expense imposed on the whole provinces, adopted a rule which Pompeius and Flaccus followed in raising the necessary sums, and even to this day the whole sum is not collected. But he makes no return of it.

33 What does he gain by that? for when he takes on himself the burden of having levied the money, he avows what you wish to

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have considered as a crime. How then can any one be induced to believe that by not returning an account of that money, he deserves to bring an accusation on himself, when there would be no crime at all in the business if he made the return? But you deny that my brother, who succeeded Lucius Flaccus, levied any money for the purpose of crews for the fleet. Indeed, I am delighted to hear this praise of my brother Quintus, but I am still more pleased at other and more important reasons for praise of him. He decided on a different course; he saw a different state of things. He thought that whenever any intelligence of pirates was received, he could get together a fleet as suddenly as he could wish. And lastly, my brother was the very first man in Asia who ventured to relieve the cities from this expense of furnishing crews. But it is usual to think that a crime, when any one establishes charges which had not been established before; not when a successor merely changes some of the charges established by his predecessors. Flaccus could not know what others would do after his time; he only saw what others had done.

ch. 15

34

But some mention has been made of charges brought by the common consent of all Asia; I will now touch on the cases of individual cities—and of them, the first that I will speak of shall be the city of Aemon. The crier with a loud voice calls for the deputies from Aemon; one comes forward, Asclepiades. Let them come forward. Have you compelled even the crier to proclaim a lie? I suppose this one deputy is a man who can support the dignity of his city by his sole authority;—a man condemned by decisions involving the greatest infamy in his own city; stigmatised in the public records; of whose disgraceful acts, and adulteries, and licentiousness there are letters of the people of Aemon in existence; which I think it better to pass over, not only on account of their length, but on account of the scandalous obscenity of the language. He said that two hundred and six thousand drachmas had been given to Flaccus at the public expense. He only said so—he produced no confirmation of his statement, no proof; but he added this,—which most certainly he ought to have proved, for it was a personal affair of his own,—that he, as a private individual, had paid two hundred and six thousand drachmas. The quantity that that most impudent man says was taken from him was a sum that he never even ventured to wish to be the possessor of.

35 He says that he gave it as a contribution from Aulus Sextilius, and from his own brothers. Sextilius was able to give such a sum; as for his own brothers, they are partners in his beggary. Let us then hear what Sextilius says; then let his brothers themselves come forward; let them lie as shamelessly as they please, and let them say that they gave what they never possessed; still, perhaps, when they are produced face to face with us, they will say something in which they may be detected. “I have not brought Sextilius with me as a witness,” says he. Give me the accounts then. “I have not brought them down.” At least produce your brothers. “I never summoned them.” Are we then to fear as an accusation or as a piece of evidence, what Asclepiades by himself affirms, a man needy as to fortune, infamous as to character, condemned by every one's opinion, relying on his own impudence and audacity, without any account-books or any one to support his evidence?



Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 26 Cic. Flac. 33 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 38

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