Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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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?

36 He also said that the panegyric which we mentioned as having been given by the men of Aemon to Flaccus, is false; a panegyric, says he, which we ought to be glad to be without. For when that admirable representative of his city beheld the public seal, he said that his own fellow-citizens and all the rest of the Greeks were accustomed to seal at the moment whatever required it. Then take that panegyric to yourself. For the life and character of Flaccus do not depend on the evidence of the citizens of Aemon. For you grant to me, (an admission which this cause especially requires,) that there is no authority, no consistency, no firm wisdom in the Greeks, and, above all, no proper regard to truth in giving their evidence; unless, indeed, henceforward there is to be this distinction made between the evidence and your speech, that the cities are to be said to have allowed something to Flaccus when absent but are to appear to have neither written nor sealed anything suited to the occasion, so as to save Laelius, though he was present, though he himself undertook the management of the business himself, and though he alarmed them and threatened them, availing himself of the power of the law, of the privileges of a prosecutor, and of all his own private resources.

ch. 16

37

In truth, O judges, I have often seen important facts detected and discovered through mere trifles, as in the case of

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this Asclepiades. This panegyric, which has been produced by us, had been sealed with that Asiatic chalk which is known to nearly all of us; which all men use not only on public but also on their private letters, and which we every day see used in letters sent by publicans, and in letters addressed to each individual among us. Nor indeed did the witness himself, when he saw the seal, say that we were producing a forged document, but he alleged the worthless character of all Asiatics,—a matter which we willingly and easily grant to him. Our panegyric then,—which he says was given to us because of that particular occasion, and by so saying in fact allows was given to us,—was sealed with chalk. But on that evidence, which is said to have been given to the prosecutor, we saw the seal was wax.

38 Here, O judges, if I thought that you were influenced by the decrees of the Aemonensians, and by the letters of the rest of the Phrygians, I should cry out, and argue with all the vigour of which I was master. I should call to witness the publicans; I should invoke the traders; I should implore the aid of your own consciences: the wax being seen, I should feel sure that the audacious forgery of the whole evidence was evidently detected and discovered, and laid bare to you. But at present I will not triumph too violently, nor be too much elated at this, nor will I inveigh against that trifler as if he were a witness, nor will I allow myself to be moved at all with respect to any part of this testimony of the Aemonensians, whether it has been forged here, as appears likely on the face of it, or whether it can really been sent from Aemon, as it is said to have been. In truth, I will not fear the evidence of the men to whom I make over that panegyric, since, as Asclepiades says, they are utterly insignificant.

ch. 17

39

I come now to the evidence of the people of Dorylaeum, who, when they were brought into court said that they had lost their public documents near some caverns. O the shepherds (I know not who they were), the literary shepherds! if they took nothing from those men except the letters! But we suspect that there is some other reason, and that we should not think those men quite destitute of all cunning. There is, I imagine, a heavier penalty at Dorylaeum than among other people, for forging or tampering with written documents. If they had produced the genuine letters, there was no accusation in them; if they produced forged ones, there was a penalty for such an act. They thought the finest thing they could do was to say that they were lost.

40 Let them be quiet then, and allow me to set this down as so much gain, said to turn to something else. They will not allow me to do so. For some one or other gives them a lift, and says that he, as a private person, had given him money. But this cannot possibly be endured. He who reads things from those public documents which have been in the power of the prosecutor, ought not to carry any weight with him; but, nevertheless, a formal trial appears to take place when the documents themselves, of whatever character they may be, are produced. But when a man, whom not one of you has ever seen, whom no living mortal has ever heard of only says, “I gave,” will you hesitate, O judges, to save a most noble citizen from this most unknown of Phrygians? And this very man was lately disbelieved by three honourable and worthy Roman knights, when in a case in which a man's liberty was at stake, he said that the man who was claimed was his own kinsman. How has it come about that the man who was not considered a trustworthy witness as to his own blood and family is a credible authority concerning a public injury?



Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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