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


But the charge respecting Falcidius is a serious one. He says that he gave fifty talents to Flaccus. Let us hear the man himself. He is not here. How then does he say it? His mother produces one letter, and his sister produces a second; and they say that he had written to them to say that he had given this large sum to Flaccus. Therefore he, whom, if he were to swear while holding by the altar, no one would believe, is to be allowed to prove whatever he pleases by a letter without being put on his oath at all! And what a man he is! how unfriendly to his fellow-citizens; a man who preferred squandering a sufficiently ample patrimony, which he might have spent among us here, in Grecian banquets!

91 What was his object in leaving this city? in depriving himself of the glorious liberty existing here? in undergoing all the danger of a voyage? just as if he might not have devoured his property here at Rome. Now at last this jolly son writes to

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his mother, an old woman not very likely to suspect him, and clears himself by a letter, in order to appear not to have spent all that money with which he had crossed the sea, but to have given it to Flaccus.

ch. 37

But those crops of the Trallians had been sold when Globulus was praetor. Falcidius had bought them for nine hundred thousand sesterces. If he gives so much money to Flaccus, he assuredly gives it to secure the ratification of that purchase. He then buys something which certainly was worth a great deal more than he gave for it; he pays for it out of his profit; he never touches his capital. Therefore he makes the less profit.

92 Why does he order his Alban farm to be sold? Why, besides, does he caress his mother in this way? Why does he try to overreach the imbecility of his sister and mother by letters? Lastly, why do we not hear the man's own statement? He is detained, I suppose, in the province. His mother says he is not. “He would have come,” says the prosecutor, “if he had been summoned.” You certainly would have compelled him to come, if you had thought your statement would receive any real confirmation from his appearing as a witness. But you were unwilling to take the man away from his business. There was an arduous contest before him; a very severe battle with the Greeks; who, however, as I think, are defeated and overthrown. For he by himself beat all Asia in the size of his cups, and in his power of drinking. But still, who was it, O Laelius, who gave you information about those letters? The women say that they do not know. Who is it then? Did the man himself tell you that he had written to his sister and mother?

93 or did he write at your entreaty? But do you put no questions to Marcus Aebutius, a most sensible and virtuous man, a relation of Falcidius? Do you decline to examine Caius Manilius his son-in-law, a man of equal integrity? men who certainly must have heard something of so large a sum of money, if it had been given. Did you, O Decianus, think that you were going to prove so heavy a charge, by reading these letters, and bringing forward these women, while the author whom you were quoting was kept at a distance? Especially when you yourself, by not producing Falcidius, declared your own opinion that a forged letter would have more weight than the feigned voice and simulated indignation of the man himself if present.


But why keep on so long discussing and expostulating about the letters of Falcidius, or about Andron Sextilius, or about the income of Decianus, and say nothing about the safety of fortunes of the state, and the general interests of the republic? the whole of which are at stake in this trial, and are resting on your shoulders,—on yours, I say, you who are our judges. You see in what critical times, in what uncertain and variable circumstances, we are all at present placed.

ch. 38

There are certain men who are planning many other things, and who are labouring most especially to cause your inclinations, your formal decisions and sentences to appear in a most unfavourable and odious light to all the most respectable citizen. You have given many important decisions in a manner suited to the dignity of the republic and particularly you have given many respecting the guilt of the conspirators. They do not think that the republic has been turned upside down enough unless they can overwhelm citizens who have deserved well of the republic with the same punishment as that with which this impious man Caius Antonius has been crushed.

Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
<<Cic. Flac. 85 Cic. Flac. 90 (Latin) >>Cic. Flac. 97

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