Cicero, Divinatio in Q. Caecilium (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Div. Caec.].
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If any one of you, O judges, or of these who are present here, marvels perhaps at me, that I, who have for so many years been occupied in public causes and trials in such a manner that I have defended many men but have prosecuted no one could now on a sudden change my usual purpose, and descend to act as accuser;—he, if he becomes acquainted with the cause and reason of my present intention, will both approve of what I am doing, and will think, I am sure, that no one ought to be preferred to me as manager of this cause.

2 As I had been quaestor in Sicily, O judges, and had departed for that province so as to leave among all the Sicilians a pleasing and lasting recollection of my quaestorship and of my name, it happened, that while they thought their chief protection lay in many of their ancient patrons, they thought there was also some support for their fortunes secured in me, who, being now plundered and harassed, have all frequently come to me by the public authority, entreating me to undertake the cause and the defence of all their fortunes. They say that I repeatedly promised and repeatedly assured them, that, if any time should arrive when they wanted anything of me, I would not be wanting to their service.

3 They said that the time had come for me to defend not only the advantages they enjoyed, but even the life and safety of the whole province, that they had now not even any gods in their cities to whom they could flee, because Caius Verres had carried off their most sacred images from the very holiest temples. That whatever luxury could accomplish in the way of vice, cruelty in the way of punishment, avarice in the way of plunder, or arrogance in the way of insult, had all been borne by them for the last three years, while this one man was praetor. That they begged and entreated that I would not reject them as suppliants, who, while I was in safety, ought to be suppliants to no one.

ch. 2


I was vexed and distressed, O judges, at being brought into such a strait, as to be forced either to let those men's hopes deceive them who had entreated succour and assistance of me, or else, when I had from my very earliest youth devoted myself entirely to defending men, to be now, under the compulsion of the occasion and of my duty, transferred to the part of an accuser. I told them that they had an advocate in Quintus Caecilius, who had been quaestor in the same province after I was quaestor there. But the very thing which I thought would have been an assistance to me in getting rid of this difficulty, was above all things a hindrance to me; for they would have much more easily excused me if they had not known him, or if he had never been among them as quaestor.

5 I was induced, O judges, by the considerations of duty, good faith, and pity; by the example of many good men; by the ancient customs and habits of our ancestors, to think that I ought to take upon myself this burden of labour and duty, not for any purpose of my own, but in the time of need to my friends. In which business, however, this fact consoles me, O judges, that this pleading of mine which seems to be an accusation is not to be considered an accusation, but rather a defence. For I am defending many men, many cities, the whole province of Sicily. So that, if one person is to be accused by me, I still almost appear to remain firm in my original purpose, and not entirely to have given up defending and assisting men.

6 But if I had this cause so deserving, so illustrious, and so important; if either the Sicilians had not demanded this of me, or I had not had such an intimate connection with the Sicilians; and if I were to profess that what I am doing I am doing for the sake of the republic, in order that a man endowed with unprecedented covetousness, audacity, and wickedness,—whose thefts and crimes we have known to be most enormous and most infamous, not in Sicily alone, but in Achaia, in Asia, in Cilicia, in Pamphylia, and even at Rome, before the eyes of all men,—should be brought to trial by my instrumentality, still, who would there be who could find fault with my act or my intention?

ch. 3


What is there, in the name of gods and men! by which I can at the present moment confer a greater benefit on the republic? What is there which either ought to be more pleasing to the Roman people, or which can be more desirable in the eves of the allies and of foreign nations, or more adapted to secure the safety and fortunes of all men? The provinces depopulated, harassed, and utterly overturned; the allies and tributaries of the Roman people afflicted and miserable, are seeking now not for any hope of safety, but for comfort in their destruction.

8 They who wish the administration of justice still to remain in the hands of the senatorial body, complain that they cannot procure proper accusers; those who are able to act as accusers, complain of the want of impartiality in the decisions. In the meantime the Roman people, although it suffers under many disadvantages and difficulties, yet desires nothing in the republic so much as the restoration of the ancient authority and importance to the courts of law. It is from a regret at the state of our courts of law that the restoration of the power of the tribunes [Note] is so eagerly demanded again. It is in consequence of the uncertainty of the courts of law, that another class [Note] is demanded to determine law-suits; owing to the crimes and infamy of the judges, even the office of censor, which formerly was used to be accounted too severe by the people, is now again demanded, and has become popular and praiseworthy.

Cicero, Divinatio in Q. Caecilium (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Div. Caec.].
<<Cic. Div. Caec. 1 Cic. Div. Caec. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Div. Caec. 12

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