Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 41 Cic. Flac. 46 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 51

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44

These men say that they gave Flaccus and those who were with him fifteen thousand drachmas. I have to do with a most active city, and one which is an admirable hand at keeping its accounts; a city in which not a farthing can be disposed of without the intervention of five praetors, three quaestors, and four bankers, who are elected in that city by the burgesses. Of all that number not one has been brought hither as a witness; and when they return that money as having been given to Flaccus by name, they say that they gave him also a still larger sum, entered as having been given for the repair of a temple. But this is not a very consistent story; for either everything ought to have been kept secret or else everything ought to have been returned without any disguise. When they enter the money as having been given to Flaccus, naming him expressly, they fear nothing, they apprehend nothing. When they return the money as having been given for a public work, then all of a sudden those same men begin to be afraid of the very man whom they had despised before. If the praetor gave the money, as it is set down, he drew it from the quaestor, the quaestor from the public bank, the public bank derived it either from revenue or from tribute. All this will never be like a crime, unless you explain to me the whole business both with respect to the persons and to the accounts.

45 Or, as it is written in this same decree, that the most illustrious men of the city,—men who had had the highest honours of the state conferred on them,—were circumvented by him while he was praetor, why are they not present in court or why, at all events, are they not named in the decree? For I do not suppose that Heraclides, who is pricking up his head, is the person here intended. For is he one of the most eminent of the citizens, when Hermippus brought him here for trial? a man who did not even receive his present commission to come on this deputation from his fellow-citizens by their voluntary choice, but who went all the way from Tmolus to solicit it? a man on whom no honour was ever conferred in his own city; and the only business which ever has been entrusted to him, is one which is usually entrusted to the most insignificant people. He, in the praetorship of Titus Autidius, was appointed guardian of the public corn. And when he had received money from Publius Varinius the praetor for this purpose, he concealed it from his fellow-citizens, and charged the whole of the expense to them. And after this was made known and revealed at Temnos, by letters which were sent thither by Publius Varinius, and when Cnaeus Lentulus, he who was the censor, the patron of the people of Temnos, had sent letters on the same subject, no one ever afterwards saw that man Heraclides at Temnos.

46 And that you may be thoroughly aware of his impudence, listen, I entreat you, to the cause which excited the animosity of this most worthless man against Flaccus.

ch. 20

He bought at Rome a farm in the district of Cyme, from a minor whose name was Meculonius. Having made himself out in words to be a rich man,—though he had in reality nothing beyond the stock of impudence which you

-- 446 --

see,—he borrowed the money from Sextus Stola, one of our judges now present a man of the highest consideration, who is acquainted with the circumstances, and not unacquainted with the man; but who trusted him on the security of Publius Fulvius Veratius, a most unexceptionable man. And to pay this loan he borrowed money of Caius and Marcus Fufius, Roman knights, men of the highest character. Here, in truth, he caught a weasel asleep, as people say; for he cheated Hermippus, a learned man, his own fellow-citizen, who ought to have known him well enough; for on his security he borrowed money of the Fufii. Hermippus, without feeling any anxiety, goes away to Temnos, as he said that he would pay the Fufii the money which he had borrowed on his security, out of what he received from his pupils.

47 For he, as a rhetorician, had some rich men for pupils whom he was going to make as foolish again as they were when they came to him, (for they could acquire nothing from him, except an ignorance of every sort of learning;) but he could not infatuate any one to such an extent as to get him to lend him a single farthing. Therefore, having left Rome secretly, and cheated numbers of people by trifling loans, he came into Asia; and when Hermippus asked him what he had done about the bond given to the Fufii, he said that he paid the entire sum to the Fufii. In the mean time, not long afterwards, a freedman comes to Hermippus with letters from the Fufii. The money is demanded of Hermippus. Hermippus demands it of Heraclides; however, he himself satisfies the claim of the Fufii who are at a distance, and discharges the security which he had given. He then prosecutes Heraclides, in spite of all his fuming and shuffling, in a formal manner: the cause is tried before judges.

48

Do not fancy, O judges, that the impudence of cheats and repudiators is not one and the same in all places. This man did the very same things which debtors here are in the habit of doing. He denied that he had ever borrowed any money at all at Rome. He asserted that he had actually never heard the name of the Fufii; and he attacked Hermippus himself, a most modest and virtuous man, an ancient friend and hereditary connection of my own, the most eminent and accomplished man in his city, with every sort of reproach and abuse. But after this voluble gentleman had delivered himself in that fashion with a prodigious rapidity of eloquence for some time, all of a sudden, when the evidence of the Fufii and the items of their claim were read, though a most audacious man, he got alarmed; through a most talkative one, he became dumb. Therefore, the judges at the first trial gave a decision against him, in a matter which certainly did not admit of much doubt. As he did not comply with their decision, he was given up to Hermippus and put in prison by him.

ch. 21



Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 41 Cic. Flac. 46 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 51

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