Cicero, pro Caelio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Cael.].
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If any one, O judges, were now present by any chance, ignorant of our laws, and of our judicial proceedings, and of our customs, he would in truth wonder what great atrocity there is in this particular cause of so serious a nature, as to cause this trial alone to be proceeded with during these days of festival and public games, when all other forensic business is interrupted; and he would not doubt that a criminal was being prosecuted for a crime of such enormity, that, if it were neglected, though but for a moment, the state could no longer stand upright. If the same man were to hear that there is

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a law which orders daily investigations to take place about seditious and wicked citizens, who may have taken arms and besieged the senate or offered violence to the magistrates, or attacked the constitution, he would find no fault with the law, but he would inquire what is the crime which is now before the court; and when he heard that there was no crime at all, no audacity, no deed of violence which was the subject of this present action, but that a young man of eminent abilities, and industry, and popularity is impeached by the son of that man whom he himself prosecutes and has prosecuted and that he is attacked owing to the influence of a prostitute, he would not find fault with the filial affection of Atratinus, but he would think it right to curb the lust of the woman, and he would think you the judges a really laborious race, when you are not allowed to be at rest at a time of universal rest to every one else.

2 In truth, if you are willing to attend diligently, and to form a correct opinion of the whole of this cause, O judges, you will make up your minds that no one would ever have come down to the court, to prefer this accusation who had the power of doing so or not, just as he pleased; and that, when he had come down, he would not have had the slightest hope of succeeding if he had not relied on the intolerable licentiousness and exaggerated hatred of some one else. But, for my part, I can make allowance for Atratinus, a most humane and virtuous young man, and a great friend of my own; who has the excuse of filial affection, and necessity, and of youth. If he wished to accuse my client I attribute it to his filial affection; if he was ordered to do so, I lay the blame on the necessity; if he had any hope of succeeding, I impute that to the inexperience of his boyhood. But as for the other partners in this impeachment, those I have not only no allowance to make for, but I must resist them most vigorously.

ch. 2


And, O judges, this beginning of my defence appears to me to suit most especially with the youth of Marcus Caelius so that I should reply first to those things which the accusers have advanced with the general view of disparaging him and for the sake of detracting from his honour and despoiling him of his dignity. His father was cast in his teeth on various accounts,—at one time as having been a man of no great respectability himself; at another, he was said to have been

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treated with but little respect by his son. On the score of dignity, Marcus Caelius, to those who know him and to the older men among us, is of himself, without speaking, himself able easily to make a very sufficient reply, and without my having any occasion to make any statement for him; but as for those to whom he is not equally well known, on account of his great age, which has now for some time hindered his mixing much with us in the forum, let them think this: that whatever dignity can exist in a Roman knight,—and certainly the very greatest may be found in that body,—has always been considered, and is to this day considered, to shine out in great lustre in the case of Marcus Caelius; and moreover it is so considered, not only by his own relations and friends, but by every one to whom he can possibly be known on any account whatever.


And to be the son of a Roman knight ought neither to be attributed to any one as a crime, either by the present prosecutor, or before those men who are the judges, or while I am the counsel for the defence. For as to what you have said about his filial affection, or the want of it, that can only be a vague opinion of ours, but the decision as to the truth of it must certainly rest with his parent. What our opinion is, you shall hear from witnesses on their oath: what his parents feel to be the truth, the tears of his mother and her incredible sorrow, the mourning appearance of his father and his distress which you now behold, and his agony, sufficiently declare.

5 For as to the attack made upon him, that as a young man he was not well thought of by his fellow-citizens of the same municipal town, I say that the people of Puteoli never paid greater honours to any one when he was among them than they did to Marcus Caelius while he was absent; for though he was absent they elected him a member of their most honourable body; and they conferred those distinctions on him without his asking for them, which they have refused to numbers when they solicited them; and they have, moreover, now sent their most chosen men, and men of our order, and Roman knights, with a deputation to attend this trial, and to bear most honourable and authoritative testimony in his favour.

I seem to myself now to have laid the foundations of my defence; and they are the firmest possible, if they rest on the

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judgment of his own relations and fellow-citizens. For his life could not be sufficiently recommended to you to meet with your approbation, if it displeased not only his parent, who is so excellent a man, but also so illustrious and dignified a municipality.

ch. 3

Cicero, pro Caelio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Cael.].
<<Cic. Cael. 1 Cic. Cael. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Cael. 8

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