Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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“But a great and intolerable injury was done to Andrus Sextilius.” As, when his wife Valeria had died without a will, Flaccus managed the business in such a way as if the inheritance belonged to himself. And in that I should be glad to know what you find fault with,—is it, that he asserted anything which was false? How do you prove it? “She was,” says he, “a person of good family.” O man, learned in the law! What? cannot inheritances legally come from women of good family? “She was,” says he, “under the power of her husband.” Now I understand you; but was she so by use [Note] or by purchase? It could not be by use for legitimate guardianship cannot be annulled except by the consent of all the guardians. By purchase? Then it must have been with the consent of all of them; and certainly you will not say that that of Flaccus was obtained.

85 That alternative remains which he did not cease asserting loudly; “that Flaccus ought not, when he was praetor, to have attended to his own private concerns, or to have made any mention of the inheritance.” I hear, O Lucius Lucullus, that very great inheritances came to you, to you who are about to decide as judge on the case of Lucius Flaccus, on account of your exceeding liberality and of the great services which you had done your friends, during the time that you were governing the province of Asia with consular power. If any one had said that those inheritances belonged to him, would you have given them up? You, O Titus Vettius, if any inheritance in Africa comes to you, will you abandon it? or, will you retain it as your own, without being liable to the imputation of avarice, without any sacrifice of your dignity? “But the possession of the inheritance of which we are speaking was demanded in the name of Flaccus, when Globulus was praetor.” Well then, it was not any sudden violence, nor the idea of any favourable opportunity, nor force, nor any peculiarity of time, nor the possession of command and of the forces which induced Flaccus to commit this injury.


And, therefore, it is to this point that Marcus Lurco also, a most excellent man, and a great friend of mine, has especially addressed the sting of his evidence. He said, that it was not becoming for a praetor in his province to claim money from a private individual. Why, I should like to know, O Lurco, is it not becoming? It is not becoming to force or extort money, or to receive money contrary to the laws; but you will never convince me that it is not becoming to claim it, unless you can show that it is not lawful to do so. Is it right to accept of honorary lieutenancies for the sake of exacting what is one's due, as you yourselves have done lately, and as many good men have often done, (and I, indeed, find no fault with such conduct; I see that our allies complain of it;) and, do you think a praetor, if he, being in his province, does not abandon an inheritance which comes to him, is not only to be blamed but even to be condemned?

ch. 34“But Valeria,” says he, “had given up all her money as dower to her husband.” None of those assertions can be admitted, unless you prove that she was not under the guardianship of Flaccus. If she was, whatever money on her marriage was assigned to her husband without his consent, the assignment is null.

87 But still you saw that Lurco was angry with Flaccus, although out of regard to his own dignity he was guided by some moderation in giving his evidence. For he did not conceal, or think it at all necessary to be silent about the cause of his anger. He complained that his freedman had been condemned by Flaccus when he was praetor. O how miserable is the condition of those who have the government of provinces! in which diligence is sure to bring enmity; carelessness is sure to incur reproach; severity is dangerous; liberality meets only with ingratitude. The conversation addressed to one is insidious; the flattery with which one is courted is mischievous; the countenance which every one wears towards you is friendly; the disposition of numbers is hostile; dislikes are secret; caresses are open; they wait with eagerness for the coming praetors, they fawn on those who are present, they abandon and betray those who are departing. But let us give over complaining, lest we should seem to be extolling our own wisdom in declining all provinces.


He sent letters about the steward of Publius Septimius, a man of great accomplishments, which steward had committed murder. You might have seen Septimius burning with anger. He allowed (in accordance with his edict) an action against a freedman of Lurco to proceed. Lurco is his enemy. What then? Was Asia to be abandoned to the freedmen of influential and powerful men? or has Flaccus any personal hostility of any sort with your freedmen? or do you hate his severity when displayed in your own causes, and in those of your freedmen, though you praise impartiality when it is we who are on our trial?

ch. 36

But that man Andro, who was stripped of all his property, as you say, has not come forward to give his evidence. What if he had? Suppose he had come.

89 Caius Caecilius was the arbitrator of the settlement come to in that case. How noble, how upright, how conscientious a man! Caius Sextilius was a witness to it, the son of Lurco's sister—a modest, and consistent, and sensible man. If there was any violence employed in the business, any fraud, any fear, any trickery, still who compelled any arrangement to be made at all? who compelled the parties to have recourse to an arbitrator? What will you say, if all that money was restored to this young man by Lucius Flaccus? if it was claimed by him? if it was collected for him? and if this was done through the agency of this Antiochus who is here in court the freedman of this youth's father, and a man most highly esteemed by the elder Flaccus? Do we not then seem not only to escape from the charge of covetousness, but even to deserve the credit of very extraordinary liberality? For he gave up to the young man his relation the whole of their joint inheritance, which by law ought to have belonged to both of them in equal shares; and he himself touched none of Valeria's property. What he had resolved to do, being influenced by the young man's amiable character, and not by the great amount of his patrimony, that he not only did, but did most liberally and courteously. From which it ought to be understood that he had not taken the money in violation of the laws, when he was so very liberal in abandoning the inheritance.

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