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

70

Wherefore, since you see that all that which you wished to impute to him as a crime is turned to his credit, let us now come to the complaints of the Roman citizens. And let the first be that of Decianus. What injury, then, O Decianus, has been done to you? You are trading in a free city. First of all, allow me to be a little curious. How long shall you continue to live there as a trader, especially since you are born of such a rank as you are? You have now for thirty years been frequenting the forum,—the forum, I mean, of Pergamus. After a very long interval, if at any time is convenient to you to travel, you come to Rome. You bring a new face, an old name; Tyrian garments, in which respect I envy you, that with only one cloak you look so smart for such a length of time.

71 However, be it so. You like to practise commerce. Why not at Pergamus? at Smyrna? at Tralles? where there are many Roman citizens, and where magistrates of our own preside in the courts of justice. You are fond of ease: lawsuits, crowds, and praetors are odious to you. You delight in the freedom of the Greeks. Why, then, do you alone treat the people of Apollonides, the allies who of all others are the most attached to the Roman people and the most faithful, in a more miserable manner than either

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Mithridates, or than your own father ever treated them? Why do you prevent them from enjoying their own liberty? why do you prevent them from being free? They are of all Asia the most frugal, the most conscientious men, the most remote from the luxury and inconstancy of the Greeks; they are fathers of families, are content with their own, farmers, country-people. They have lands excellent by nature, and improved by diligence and cultivation. In this district you wished to have some farms. I should greatly prefer, (and it would have been more for your interest too, if you wanted some fertile lands,) that you should have got some here somewhere in the district of Crustumii, or in the Capenate country.

72 However, be it so. It is an old saying of Cato's,—“that money is balanced by distance.” It is a very long way from the Tiber to the Caicus,—a place in which Agamemnon himself would have lost his way, if he had not found Telephus for his guide. However, I give up all that. You took a fancy to the town. The country delighted you. You might have bought it.

ch. 30

Amyntas is by birth, by rank, by universal opinion, and by his riches, the first man of that state. Decianus brought his mother-in-law, a woman of weak mind, and tolerably rich, over to his side, and, while she was ignorant of what his object was, he established his household in the possession of her estates. He took away from Amyntas his wife, then in a state of pregnancy, who was confined with a daughter in Decianus's house, and to this very day both the wife and daughter of Amyntas are in Decianus's house.

73 Is there any one of all these circumstances invented by me, O Decianus? —All the nobles know these facts—virtuous men are acquainted with them—our own citizens are acquainted with them—all the merchants of ordinary consequence are acquainted with them. Rise, Amyntas: demand back from Decianus, not your money, not your estates; let him even keep your mother-in-law for himself; but let him restore your wife, let him restore the daughter to her miserable father: for the limbs which he has weakened with stones, with sticks, with weapons, the hands which he has crushed, the fingers which he has broken, the sinews which he has cut through, those he cannot restore. The daughter,—restore the daughter, I say, O Decianus, to her unhappy father.

74 Do you wonder that you could not get Flaccus to approve of this conduct? I should like to know who you did persuade to approve of it? You contrived fictitious purchases, you put up advertisements of estates in concert with some wretched women,—open frauds. According to the laws of the Greeks it was necessary to name a guardian to look after these matters. You named Polemocrates a hired slave and minister of your designs. Polemocrates was prosecuted by Dion for treachery and fraud on account of this very guardianship. What a crowd was there from all the neighbouring towns on every side! What was their indignation! How universal were their complaints! Polemocrates was convicted by every single vote; the sales were annulled, the advertisements were canceled. Do you restore the property? You bring to the men of Pergamus, and beg them to enter in their public registers, those beautiful advertisements and purchases of yours. They refuse, they reject them. And yet who were the men who did so? The men of Pergamus, your own panegyrists. For you appear to me to boast as much of the panegyric of the citizens of Pergamus, as if you had arrived at all the honours which had been attained by your ancestors. And you thought yourself in this respect better off than Laelius, that the city of Pergamus praised you. Is the city of Pergamus more honourable than that of Smyrna? Even the men of Pergamus themselves do not assert that.

ch. 31



Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 65 Cic. Flac. 71 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 78

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