Cicero, pro Balbo (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Balb.].
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If the authority of those who are advocates in a person's defence be of any weight, the cause of Lucius Cornelius has been defended by the most honourable men; if their experience is to be regarded, it has been defended by the most skillful lawyers; if we look to their ability, by the most eloquent of orators; or if it is their sincerity and zeal that we should regard, it has been upheld by those who are his greatest friends, and who are united to Lucius Cornelius not merely by mutual services, but by the greatest intimacy. What part, then, have I in this defence? That which is given to me by such influence as you have been pleased to allow me; by moderate experience; and by an ability which is by no means equal to my inclination to serve him. For as to the other men by whom he has been defended, I see that to them

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he is under great obligations; but how much I am under obligations to him I will explain to you at another time. This I assert at the beginning of my speech,—that if I cannot by my exertions properly requite all those men who have been friendly to my safety and to my dignity, I will at all events recompense them as far as in my power by at all times both feeling and declaring my obligations and my gratitude.

2 How great was the energy displayed by Cnaeus Pompeius in speaking yesterday, O judges, how great his fluency, how great the riches of his eloquence, was shown plainly enough, not only by the secret feelings of your minds, but by your evident and unconcealed admiration. For I never heard anything which appeared to me more acute as regards the state of the law, I never heard a more copious recollection of precedents; I never heard a more skillful argument concerning treaties, nor any statements of more illustrious authority concerning our wars, or of more weight and dignity with reference to the general interests of the republic; I never heard any one speak more modestly concerning himself, or more eloquently concerning the cause and the charge.

3 So that that saying appeared to me to be a true one, which though some men devoted to literature and to learned studies were said to have given utterance to it, appeared nevertheless to be something incredible; namely, that the man whose soul contained every virtue, could with the most perfect ease do everything which he might wish to do. For how could there have been a greater fertility and variety and richness of eloquence in Lucius Crassus, a man born to a most singular gift of oratory if even he had pleaded this cause than was displayed by that man who was able to devote just so much time to this study as he spared from the uninterrupted succession of wars and victories in which his life has been passed from childhood up to this time?


And all this makes my task of summing up the more difficult. For, in truth, I am coming after an oration which has not just passed by your ears, but has sunk deep into the minds of all of you, so that you may very probably derive more pleasure from the recollection of that speech, than you can from the hearing not only of mine, but of any one else's speech whatever.

ch. 2

But in this I am forced to comply with the wishes not

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only of Cornelius, whose desires I cannot possibly thwart in this his hour of danger, but also with those of Cnaeus Pompeius, who has wished me the panegyrist of and the assistant in this action, and this determination, and this kindness of his, as I lately was in another cause which was pleaded before you, O judges.

5 And it appears to me that this is what the defendant himself deserves, that this is what the unexampled renown of this excellent man deserves, that this is what essentially belongs to the discharge of your duty, and that this is due to the cause itself, that, what it is quite notorious that Cnaeus Pompeius did, all men should allow he had a lawful right to do. For there is nothing more true than that which he himself said yesterday, that Lucius Cornelius had now all his fortunes at stake, without being accused of any single crime of any description. For he is not said to have stolen the rights of a citizen, nor to have given any false account of his family, nor to have proceeded in an underhand manner by any shameless falsehood, nor to have crept fraudulently into the register. One thing alone is imputed to him, that he was born at Gades; a fact which no one denies. All the rest the prosecutor admits. He admits that he served in Spain, in a most severe war, with Quintus Metellus, with Caius Memmius; that he served both in the fleet and in the army; and, when Pompeius came into Spain and began to have Memmius for his quaestor, that he never left Memmius; that he went to take possession of Carthage; that he was present at those two hardly contested and most important battles of Sucro and the Durius; that he remained with Pompeius to the end of the war.

6 These are the battles of Cornelius. Such were his exertions; such was his industry; such were his dangers encountered on behalf of our republic; such was his valour, worthy of a general; while his hopes were hopes of a reward in proportion to his dangers. The rewards themselves are not the actions of him who obtained them, but of him who conferred them.

ch. 3

Therefore on account of this conduct he was presented by Cnaeus Pompeius with the freedom of the city. That the prosecutor does not deny; but he finds fault with it, in such a manner that, as far as Balbus himself is concerned, his cause is approved of even at the moment that it is sought to punish

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him; in the case of Pompeius, his conduct is disapproved of, but no punishment is designed for him. And this is the way in which they wish to condemn the fame and fortune of a most innocent man and the conduct of a most admirable commander. Therefore it is the status of Cornelius as a citizen, and the action of Pompeius that are now on their trial before this court. For you admit that this man was born of a most honourable rank in that state to which he belongs, and that from his earliest manhood disregarding all his private affairs, he has passed his whole time in our wars in the company of our own generals, and that he has been absent from no labour, from no siege, and from no battle. All these things are full of glory, and are the peculiar glory of Cornelius; nor is there any crime in any part of such conduct.

Cicero, pro Balbo (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Balb.].
<<Cic. Balb. 1 Cic. Balb. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Balb. 10

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