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

66 In truth, I think that I have said enough and more than enough of the whole race of witnesses from Asia. But still it is your duty, O judges, to weigh in your minds and thoughts everything which can be said against the insignificance, the inconstancy, and the covetousness of the men, even if these points are not sufficiently enlarged upon by me.

ch. 28

The next thing is that charge about the Jewish gold. And this, forsooth, is the reason why this cause is pleaded near the steps of Aurelius. It is on account of this charge, O Laelius, that this place and that mob has been selected by you. You know how numerous that crowd is, how great is its unanimity, and of what weight it is in the popular assemblies. I will speak in a low voice, just so as to let the judges hear me. For men are not wanting who would be glad to excite that people against me and against every eminent man; and I will not assist them and enable them to do so more easily.

67 As gold, under pretence of being given to the Jews, was accustomed every year to be exported out of Italy and all the provinces to Jerusalem, Flaccus issued an edict establishing a law that it should not be lawful for gold to be exported out of Asia. And who is there, O judges, who cannot honestly praise this measure? The senate had often decided, and when I was consul it came to a most solemn resolution that gold ought not to be exported. But to resist this barbarous superstition were an act of dignity, to despise the multitude of Jews, which at times was most unruly in the assemblies in defence of the interests of the republic, was an act of the greatest wisdom. “But Cnaeus Pompeius, after he had taken Jerusalem, though he was a conqueror, touched nothing which was in that temple.”

68 In the first place, he acted wisely, as he did in many other instances, in leaving no room for his detractors to say anything against him, in a city so prone to suspicion and to evil speaking. For I do not suppose that the religion of the Jews, our enemies, was any obstacle to that most illustrious general, but that he was hindered by his own modesty. Where then is the guilt? Since you nowhere impute any theft to us, since you approve of the edict, and confess that it was passed in due form, and did not deny that the gold was openly sought for and produced the facts of the case themselves show that the business was executed by the instrumentality of men of the highest character. There was a hundredweight of gold, more or less openly seized at Apamea, and weighed out in the forum at the feet of the praetor, by Sextus Caesius, a Roman knight, a most excellent and upright man; twenty pounds weight or a little more were seized at Laodicea, by Lucius Peducaeus, who is here in court, one of our judges; some was seized also at Adramyttium, by Cnaeus Domitius, the lieutenant, and a small quantity at Pergamus.

69 The amount of the gold is known; the gold is in the treasury; no theft is imputed to him; but it is attempted to render him unpopular. The speaker turns away from the judges, and addresses himself to the surrounding multitude. Each city, O Laelius, has its own peculiar religion we have ours. While Jerusalem was flourishing, and while the Jews were in a peaceful state, still the religious ceremonies and observances of that people were very much at variance with the splendour of this empire and the dignity of our name and the institutions of our ancestors. And they are the more odious to us now because that nation has shown by arms what were its feelings towards our supremacy. How dear it was to the immortal gods is proved by its having been defeated, by its revenues having been farmed out to our contractors, by its being reduced to a state of subjection.

ch. 29

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