Cicero, pro Plancio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Planc.].
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33 “He has at times,” says he, “said some very harsh things.” Perhaps he may have spoken rather freely. “But that speaking freely, as you term it,” says he, “is not to be borne.” Are then those men to be borne who complain that they cannot bear the freedom of a Roman knight? Where are our old customs? Where is our equality of privileges? Where is that ancient liberty, which, having been overwhelmed by civil disasters, ought by this time to be raising its head and to be at last recovered and assuming a more erect attitude again? Need I recount the abuse directed by the Roman knights against even the noblest men, or that of the harsh, ferocious, unbridled expressions of the farmers against Quintus Scaevola, a man superior to all others in genius, justice, and integrity?

ch. 14

Granius, the crier, replied to the consul Publius Nasica in the middle of the forum, when he, after a suspension of all judicial proceedings had been proclaimed, as he was returning home, had asked Granius “why he was sad; was it because all the auctions were postponed?” “Rather,” said he,

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“because they have sent back the ambassadors.” The same man made this answer to a tribune of the people, Marcus Drusus, a most influential man, but one who was causing great disturbances in the republic. When Drusus had saluted him, as is the fashion, and had said, “How do you do, O Granius?” he replied, “I should rather ask, O Drusus, what are you doing?” And he often reproved with impunity the designs of Lucius Crassus and Marcus Antonius, with still harsher witticisms. At present the state is to such a degree oppressed by your arrogance, that the freedom of laughing in which a crier used to be indulged, is more than is now allowed to a Roman knight in making lamentations.

34 For what expression was ever used by Plancius which was not dictated by grief rather than by insult? And what did he ever complain of, except at times when he was protecting his companions or himself from injury? When the senate was hindered from making a reply to a representation of the Roman knights,—a thing which was invariably given even to enemies,—that injury was a great grief to all the farmers of the revenue and that indignation this man did not care to conceal. Their common feelings may perhaps have been disguised by others, but the sentiments which my client shared with the rest he revealed more plainly than the rest both by his countenance and by his language.

35 Although, O judges, (for thus much I know of my own knowledge,) many things are attributed to Plancius which were never said by him. In my own case, because I sometimes say something, not from any deliberate intention, but either in the heat of speaking, or because I have been provoked; and because as is natural, among the many things which I say in this manner something comes out at times if not excessively witty, still perhaps not altogether stupid, the consequence is that, whatever anyone else says people say that I have said. But I, if it is anything clever and worthy of a well-educated and learned man have no great objection but I am very angry when the sayings of other men are attributed to me, which are utterly unworthy of me. For, because he was the first person to give his vote for the law concerning the farmers, at the time when that most illustrious man the consul gave that privilege to that order of men by a vote of the people, which if he had have done it, he would have given them by a vote of the senate, if it be a crime in him

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to have given his vote for it, I ask what farmer was there who did not vote for it? If the charge be that he was the first to vote, is that the fault of chance, or of the man who proposed the law? If it was the effect of chance, then there can be no crime in what happened by chance. If it was by the choice of the consul, then it adds to the renown of Plancius that he was considered the chief man of his order by so illustrious a man.

ch. 15


But let us at last come to the merits of the case; in which, under cover of the Licinian law, which relates to treating, [Note] you have embraced all the laws relating to bribery. Nor have you had any other object in view in dwelling on this law, except the power which it gave you of selecting your judges. And if this sort of tribunal is an equitable one in any other case except that of bribing the tribes, I do not understand why, in this one description of prosecution alone, the senate has allowed the tribes from which the judges are taken to be selected by the prosecutor, and has not given the same power of selection in other cases also. In actual prosecutions for bribery, it has directed the tribunal to be formed by each party striking off judges alternately; and though it omitted no other species of severity to the defendant, still it thought it ought to omit this.

37 What? Is the reason of this conduct still obscure? was it not mooted when that matter was discussed in the senate, and argued most abundantly by Hortensius yesterday, who carried all the senate with him? This, then, was our opinion, that if he had bribed any tribe by means of this hospitality—which the treating would be called by people more solicitous to give it a respectable name than a true one;—if he had, I say, corrupted any tribe by disgraceful bribery, he must be known to have done so by the men who belonged to that tribe above all others. Accordingly, the senate thought that when those tribes were selected is the judges of the accused person, which he was said to have corrupted by bribery, they would serve both as witnesses of the truth and as judges. It is altogether a very severe sort

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of tribunal; but still, if either his own tribe, or one with which he was especially connected, was proposed to a man as that which was to judge him, it could hardly be refused.

ch. 16

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