Cicero, pro Rabirio Postumo (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Rab. Post.].
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27 but at Naples, in a much-frequented town. We have even seen Lucius Sulla, that great commander, in a cloak. And you can now see the statue of Lucius Scipio, who conducted the war in Asia, and defeated Antiochus standing in the Capitol, not only with a cloak, but also with Greek slippers. And yet these men not only were not liable to be tried for wearing them, but they were not even talked about; and, at all events, the excuse of necessity will be a more valid defence for Publius Rutilius Rufus; for when he had been caught at Mitylene by Mithridates, he avoided the cruelty with which the king treated all who wore the Roman gown, by changing his apparel. Therefore, that Rutilius, who was a pattern to our citizens of virtue, and of the ancient dignity, and of prudence, and a man of consular rank, put on slippers and a cloak. Nor did any one think of reproaching the man with having done so, but all imputed it to the necessity of the time. And shall that garment bring an accusation upon Postumus, which afforded him a hope that he might at some time or other recover his fortune?

28 For when he came to Alexandria to Auletes, [Note] O judges, this one means of saving his money was proposed to Postumus by the king—namely, that he should undertake the management, and, as it were, the stewardship of the royal revenues. And he could not do that unless he became the steward. For he uses that title which had been given to the office by the king. The business seemed an odious one to Postumus, but he had actually no power of declining it. The name itself, too, annoying; but the business had that name or old among those people, it was not now newly imposed by the king. He detested also that dress, but without it he could neither have the title nor fill his office. Therefore, I say, that he was

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compelled by force to act as he did,—by force which, as our great poet says Breaks and subdues the loftiest dignity.

29 He should have died, you will say; for that is the alternative. And so he would have done, if, while his affairs were in such a state of embarrassment, he could have died without the greatest disgrace.

ch. 11

Do not then, impute his hard fortune to him as a fault; do not think the injury done to him by the king his crime; do not judge of his intentions by the compulsion under which he was, nor of his inclination by the force to which he submitted. Unless, indeed, you think those men deserving of reproach who have fallen among enemies or among thieves, and who then act differently under compulsion from what they would if they were free. No one of us is ignorant, even if we have had no personal experience of it, of the mode of proceeding adopted by a king. These are the orders given by kings,—“Take notice,” “Obey orders,” “Do not complain when you are not asked.” These are their threats,—“If I catch you here tomorrow, you shall die.” Expressions which we ought to read and consider, not only for the purpose of being amused by them, but in order to learn to beware of their authors and to avoid them.


But from the circumstance of this employment itself another charge arises. For the prosecutor says, that while Postumus was collecting the money for Gabinius, he also amassed money for himself out of the tenths belonging to the generals. I do not quite understand what this charge means;—whether Postumus is charged with having made an addition of one per cent to the tenth, as our own collectors are in the habit of doing, or whether he deducted that sum from the total amount of the tenths. If he made that addition, then eleven thousand talents came to Gabinius. But not only was the amount mentioned by you ten thousand talents, but that also was the sum at which it was estimated by them.

31 I add this consideration also: how can it be likely, that when the burden of the tributes was already so heavy, an addition of our thousand talents could he made to so large a sum which was to be collected? or that, when a man, a most avaricious man as you make him out, was to receive

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so large a reward, he would put up with a diminution of a thousand talents? For it was not like Gabinius, to give up so vast a portion of what he had a right to; nor was it natural for the king to allow him to impose so great an additional tax on his subjects. Witnesses will be produced, deputies from Alexandria. They have not said a word against Gabinius. Nay, they have even praised Gabinius. Where, then, is that custom? what has become of the usages of courts of justice? Where are your precedents? Is it usual to produce a witness to give evidence against a man who has been the collector of money, when he has not been able to say a word against the man in whose name the money collected?

32 Nay more; if it is usual to produce a man who has said nothing, is it usual to produce one who has spoken in his praise? Is it not customary rather to look on such a cause as already decided, and to think that it is sufficient to read the previous evidence of the witnesses, without producing the men themselves?

ch. 12

And this intimate companion and friend of mine says also that the men of Alexandria had the same reason for praising Gabinius that I had for defending him. My reason, O Caius Memmius, for defending him was, that I had become reconciled to him. Nor do I repent of considering my friendships immortal, but my enmities mortal. For if you think that I defended him against my will, because I did not like to offend Pompeius, you are very ignorant both of his character and of mine.

33 For Pompeius would not have wished me to do anything contrary to my inclination for his sake. Nor would I, to whom the liberty of all the citizens has always been the dearest object, ever have abandoned my own. As long as I was on terms of the greatest enmity to Gabinius, Pompeius was in no respect the less my dearest friend. Nor after I had made to his authority that concession to which it was entitled from me, did I feign anything I could not behave with treachery so as to injure the very man whom I had just been obliging. For by refusing to be reconciled to my enemy, I was doing no harm to Pompeius; but if I had allowed him to reconcile us, and yet had myself been reconciled to Gabinius with a treacherous intention I should have behaved dishonestly,—principally, indeed, to myself, but in the next degree to him also,.

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Cicero, pro Rabirio Postumo (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Rab. Post.].
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