Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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“But he had no right to lay hands on that money.” Had his father Flaccus a right to touch it or not? If he had a right, as he undoubtedly had, to take money which had been contributed for the purposes of his honours, then the son did right in taking away the money belonging to his father from those men from whom he on his own account took nothing; but if the father Flaccus had not a right to take it, still after his death, not only his son, but any heir, must have had a perfect right to take it. And at that time, indeed, the Trallians, as they themselves had been for many years putting out that money at high interest nevertheless obtained from Flaccus all that they desired; nor were they so shameless as to venture to say what Laelius said,—namely, that Mithridates had taken this money from them. For who was there who did not know that Mithridates was more anxious about adorning Tralles than plundering it?

60 And if I were to speak of these matters as they ought to be spoken of, I should, O judges, press more strongly than I have as yet done, the point of how much credit it was reasonable for you to give Asiatic witnesses. I should recall your recollections to the time of the Mithridatic war, to that miserable and inhuman massacre of all the Roman citizens, in so many cities, at one and the same moment. I should remind you of our praetors who were surrendered, of our ambassadors who were thrown into prison, of almost all memory of the Roman name and every trace of its empire effaced, not only from the habitations of the Greeks, but even from their writings. They called Mithridates a god, they called him their father and the preserver of Asia, they called him Evius, Nysius, Bacchus, Liber.

61 It was the same time, when all Asia shut its gates against Lucius Flaccus, the consul, and not only received that Cappadocian into their cities, but even spontaneously invited him. Let us be allowed, if not to forget these things, at least

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to be silent respecting them. Let me be allowed rather to complain of the inconstancy of the Greeks than of their cruelty. Are these two men to have influence with a people which they wished utterly to destroy? For whomsoever they could they slew while in the garb of peace; as far as depended on them they annihilated the name of Roman citizens.

ch. 26

Shall they then give themselves airs in a city which they hate? among those people whom, if they had their will, they would not look upon? in that republic to the destruction of which it was their power that was unequal, and not their inclination? Let them behold this noble body of ambassadors and panegyrists of Flaccus who have come from the real honest Greece. Then let them weigh themselves in the balance, let them compare themselves with these men;

62 then, if they dare, let them compare their dignity with that of these men.

Athenians are here, citizens of that city from which civilization, learning, religion, corn, laws, and institutions are supposed to have arisen, and to have been disseminated over the whole earth—that city, for the possession of which there is said to have been, by reason of its beauty, a contest even among the gods: a city which is of that antiquity that she is said to have produced her citizens from her own womb, so that the same land is called the parent, and nurse, and country of her people. And she is of such authority that the name of Greece, now enfeebled and almost broken, rests upon the glory of this city.


Lacedaemonians are here; men of that city, whose tried and glorious virtue is considered not only to be implanted in them by nature, but also to be fortified by discipline. The only men in the whole world who have been living for now seven hundred years and more under one system, and under laws which have never been altered.

Many deputies are here from all Achaia, Boeotia, and Thessaly, places in which Lucius Flaccus has lately been in command as lieutenant under Metellus as commander-in-chief. Nor do I pass you over, O Marseilles, you who have known Lucius Flaccus as soldier and as quaestor,—a city, the strict discipline and wisdom of which I do not know whether I might not say was superior, not only to that of Greece, but to that of any nation whatever; a city which, though so far separated from the districts of all the Greeks, and from their fashions and language, and though placed in the extremity of the world and surrounded by tribes of Gauls, and washed with the waves of barbarism, is so regulated and governed by the counsels of its chief men, that there is no nation which does not find it easier to praise its institutions than to imitate them.

64 Flaccus has these states as his panegyrists and as witnesses of his innocence, so that we may resist the covetousness of some Greeks by the assistance of others.

ch. 27

Although, who is there who is ignorant, provided he has only taken the most ordinary trouble to make himself acquainted with these matters, that there are in reality three different races of Greeks; of which the Athenians are one, being considered an Ionic nation; the Aeolians are another; the third were called Dorians. And the whole of this land of Greece, which flourished so greatly with fame, with glory, with learning, and many arts, and even with wide dominion and military renown, occupies as you know, and always has occupied, but a small part of Europe. It surrounded the seacoast of Asia with cities after it had subdued it in war; not in order to increase the prosperity of Asia by fortifying it with colonies, but in order to keep its hold upon it by placing it in a state of siege.

65 Wherefore I beseech you, O you Asiatic witnesses, that, when you wish to recollect with accuracy what amount of authority you bring into a court of justice, you would yourselves describe Asia, and remember, not what foreigners are accustomed to say of you, but what you yourselves affirm of your own races. For, as I think, the Asia that you talk of consists of Phrygia, Mysia, Caria, and Lydia. Is it then a proverb of ours or of yours that a Phrygian is usually made better by beating? What more? Is not this a common saying of you all with respect to the whole of Caria, if you wish to make any experiment accompanied with danger, that you had better try it on a Carian? Moreover what saying is there in Greek conversation more ordinary and well known, than, when any one is spoken of contemptuously, to say that he is the very lowest of the Mysians? For why should I speak of Lydia? What Greek ever wrote a comedy in which the principal slave was not a Lydian? What injury, then, is done to you, if we decide that we are to adhere to the judgment which you have formed of yourselves?

Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 55 Cic. Flac. 62 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 69

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