Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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[What [Note] was the use of bringing forward foreign evidence,] when his domestic life and his natural disposition was notorious? Therefore, I will not, O Decimus Laelius, allow you to assume this law and this condition as applicable to yourself and to the rest for the future, and to us at present

When you have branded his youth, when you have stigmatized the rest of his life with stains of infamy, when you have brought forward the ruin of his private affairs and his disgrace in the city, and his vices and crimes in Spain and Gaul and Cilicia, and Crete, in which provinces he lived in no great obscurity, then we shall hear what the people of Tmolus and the Lorymeni think of Lucius Flaccus. But the man whom so many and such influential provinces wish to be saved,—whom many citizens from all parts of Italy defended, being bound to him by intimate connection and old friendship,—whom this the common country of us all holds fast in her embrace, on account of her fresh recollection of his great services,—him, even if all Asia demands him for punishment, I will defend,—his enemies I will resist. What if it is not all Asia that demands him, nor the best part of it nor even any part without bribery, nor of its own accord, nor rightly, nor in a manner according to custom, nor with truth, nor with any conscientious regard to justice or honesty? If it duly demands him because it has been persuaded, and tampered with, and excited, and compelled to do so,—if it has backed this prosecution with its name impiously, and rashly, and covetously, and with great inconsistency, speaking only by the mouth of the most needy witnesses, and if the province itself has no grounds to complain with truth of any injuries done by him; still, O judges, will these statements,

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heard with reference to a very brief epoch diminish the credit due to actions which we really know, extending over a long period of time?

I, therefore, as his defender, will preserve this order which his enemy avoids; and I will pursue and follow up the prosecutor, and of my own accord I will demand the accusation from our adversary. What is it, O Laelius? Have you at any time been able to stigmatize the youth of Lucius Flaccus, who has passed his time, not in the shade, nor in the common pursuits and training of those his age? In truth, even as a boy he went with his father, the consul, to the wars; and yet, even as to this very fact you accused him of something because [something [Note] appeared able to be said so as to excite suspicion.]

ch. 3

6

With what charges, then, O Laelius, do you attack my client being such a man as he is? He was in Cilicia a military tribune when Publius Servilius was the general; not a word is said about that. He was quaestor to Marcus Piso in Spain; not a word has been uttered about his quaestorship. He was present at the greater part of the Cretan war, and went through all its hardships in the company of that consummate general. The accusation is dumb with regard to this period. His discharge of his duties as judge during his praetorship,—a business of great intricacy, and affording numberless causes for suspicion and enmities, is not touched. Nay more, though it fell in a most critical and perilous time of the republic, it is praised even by his enemies. “Oh, but damaging evidence has been given against him.” Before I say by whom it was given, by what hopes, by what violence, by what means the witnesses were urged on, and what insignificant, needy, treacherous, audacious men they were, I will speak of their whole class, and of the condition in which all of us are placed. In the name of the immortal gods, O judges, will you ask of unknown witnesses in what way the man decided trials in Asia, who the year before had sat as judge at Rome? And will you yourselves form no conjectures on the subject? In a jurisdiction so various, many decrees were issued,—many desires of influential men were set at nought; and yet, what words, (I will not say of suspicion, for that is often false, but) of anger or indignation were ever once uttered against him? And is that man to be put on his trial for covetousness, who, when employed on a business affording numerous opportunities for such conduct, shunned all base gain,—who, in a city much given to evil speaking, and in an office surrounded with suspicion avoided, not only all accusation, but even a single hard name? I pass over points which I ought not to pass over that in his private affairs no covetous action, no eagerness about money matters, no sordid conduct in the management of his estate can be alleged against him. By what witnesses, then, can I refute these men except by you?

8 Shall that villager from near Tmolus,—a man not only a stranger to us, but not even known among his own neighbours,—teach you what sort of a man Lucius Flaccus is, whom you yourselves have known to be most modest as a youth, whom our most extensive provinces have found to be a most conscientious man and whom our armies know by experience to be a thoroughly brave soldier and vigilant general, and of a lieutenant and quaestor most moderate; whom you yourselves, being witnesses on the spot of his conduct, have judged to be a thoroughly wise and consistent senator, a most upright praetor, and a citizen wholly devoted to the republic.

ch. 4

9

Will you then listen to others as witnesses on those points, respecting which you yourselves ought rather to bear witness to others? And what witnesses are they? In the first place, I will say that they are Greeks, (that is the case of them all.) Not that I, for my own part, would be more inclined than others to refuse credit to that nation; for if ever there was any one of our countrymen not averse to that race of men, and proving himself so by zeal and good-will, I think that I am that man, and that I was so even more when I had more leisure; but there are in that body many virtuous, many learned, many modest men, and they have not been brought hither to this trial. There are also many impudent, illiterate, worthless persons, and those I see here, impelled by various motives. But I say this of the whole race of Greeks; I allow them learning, I allow them a knowledge of many arts; I do not deny them wit in conversation, acuteness of talents, and fluency in speaking; even if they claim praise for other sorts of ability, I will not make any objection; but a scrupulous regard to truth in giving their evidence is not a virtue that that nation has ever cultivated; they are utterly ignorant what is the meaning of that quality, they know nothing of its authority or of its weight.



Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 1 Cic. Flac. 6 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 12

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