Cicero, pro Rege Deiotaro (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Deiot.].
<<Cic. Deiot. 1 Cic. Deiot. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Deiot. 11

Click a word to see morphological information.

In all causes of more than ordinary importance, O Caius Caesar, I am accustomed, at the beginning of my speech, to be more vehemently affected than either common custom or my own age appears to require. And in this particular cause I am agitated by so many considerations, that in proportion as my fidelity to my friend inspires me with zeal to defend the safety of king Deiotarus, in the same proportion do my fears take away from my ability to do so. In the first place, I am speaking in defence of the life and fortunes of a king; and although there is no particular injustice in such a fact, especially when it is oneself who is in danger yet it is so unusual for a king to be tried for his life, that up to this time no such thing has ever been heard of.

2 In the second place, I am compelled now to defend against a most atrocious accusation that very king whom I, in common with all the senate, used formerly to extol on account of his uninterrupted services towards our republic. There is this further consideration, that I am disturbed by the cruelty of one of the prosecutors, and by the unworthy conduct of the other.

O cruel, not to say wicked and impious, Castor! a grandson, who has brought his grandfather into danger of his life, and has caused that man to dread his youth, whose old age he was bound to defend and protect; who has sought to recommend his entrance into life to our favour by impiety and wickedness; who has instigated his grandfather's slave, whom he corrupted by bribes, to accuse his master, and has carried him away from the feet of the king's ambassadors.

3 But when I saw the countenance and heard the words of this runaway slave, accusing his master,—his absent master,—his master, who was a most devoted friend to our republic,—I did not feel so much grief at the depressed condition of the monarch himself, as fear for the general fortunes of every one. For though, according to the usage of our ancestors, it is not lawful to examine a slave as a witness against his master, not

-- 485 --

even by torture,—in which mode of examination pain might, perhaps, elicit the truth from a man even against his will,—a slave has arisen, who, without any compulsion, accuses him against whom he might not legally say a word even on the rack.

ch. 2


This thing also, O Caius Caesar, at times disturbs me; which, however, I cease to fear when I come to a complete recollection of your disposition. For in principle it is an unjust thing, but by your wisdom it becomes a most just one. For it is a serious business (if you consider the matter by itself) to speak concerning a crime before that man against whose life you are accused of having meditated that crime; for there is hardly anybody who, when he is a judge in any matter in which his own safety is at stake, does not act with more partiality towards himself than towards the accused person; but, O Caius Caesar, your admirable and extraordinary natural virtue to a great extent releases me from this fear. For I am not so much afraid what you may wish to decide with respect to king Deiotarus, as I am sure what you wish to decide in all other cases.


I am affected, also, by the unusual circumstance of the trial in this place; because I am pleading so important a cause—one, the fellow of which has never been brought under discussion—within the walls of a private house; I am pleading it out of the hearing of any court or body of auditors, which are a great support and encouragement to an orator. I rest on nothing but your eyes, your person and countenance; I behold you alone; the whole of my speech is necessarily confined to you alone. And if those considerations are very important as regards my hope of establishing the truth, they for all that are impediments of the energy of my mind, and to the proper enthusiasm and ardour of speaking.


For if, O Caius Caesar, I were pleading this cause in the forum, still having you for my auditor and my judge, with what great cheerfulness would the concourse of the Roman people inspire me! For what citizen would do otherwise than favour that king, the whole of whose life he would recollect had been spent in the wars of the Roman people? I should be beholding the senate-house, I should be surveying the forum, I should call the heaven above me itself to witness;—and so, while calling to mind the kindnesses of the immortal gods, and of the Roman people, and of the senate to king Deiotarus, it

-- 486 --

would be impossible for me to be at a loss for topics or armaments for my speech.

7 But since the walls of a house narrow, all these topics, and since the pleading of the cause is greatly crippled by the place, it behoves you, O Caesar, who have yourself often pleaded for many defendants, to consider within yourself what my feelings at present must be; so that your justice, and also your careful attention in listening to me, may the more easily lessen my natural agitation and anxiety.

But before I say anything about the accusation itself, I will say a few words about the hopes entertained by the accusers. For though they appear to be possessed of no great skill or experience in affairs, nevertheless they have never, surely, undertaken this cause without some hope or other and some definite design.

ch. 3


They were not ignorant that you were offended with king Deiotarus. They recollected that he had been already exposed to some inconvenience and loss on account of the displeasure with which you regarded him; and while they knew that you were angry with him, they had had proofs also that you were friendly to them. And as they would be speaking before you of a matter involving personal danger to yourself, they reckoned that a fictitious charge would easily lodge in your mind, which was already sore. Wherefore, O Caius Caesar, first of all by your good faith, and wisdom and firmness, and clemency deliver us from this fear, and prevent our suspecting that there is any ill-temper lurking in you. I entreat you by that right hand of yours which you pledged in token of everlasting friendship to king Deiotarus; by that right hand, I say, which is not more trustworthy in wars or in battles than in promises and pledges of good faith. You have chosen to enter his house, you have chosen to renew with him the ancient ties of friendship and hospitality. His household gods have received you under their protection; the altars and hearths of king Deiotarus have beheld you at peace with and friendly towards him.

Cicero, pro Rege Deiotaro (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Deiot.].
<<Cic. Deiot. 1 Cic. Deiot. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Deiot. 11

Powered by PhiloLogic