Cicero, pro Flacco (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Flac.].
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When in the greatest perils of this city and empire, in the most important and terrible disasters of the republic, I was repelling slaughter from you, your wives, and your children, devastation from your temples, your altars, from the city and from Italy, with Lucius Flaccus, the companion and assistant of my counsels and my dangers, I used to hope, O judges, that I should some time or other be an assistant of Lucius Flaccus towards obtaining honour, rather than an advocate to defend him from calamity. For what reward of dignity could there be which the Roman people would deny to him, when it had always given them to his ancestors; when Lucius Flaccus had imitated the ancient glory of the Valerian family in delivering his country, nearly five hundred years after the existence of the republic?


But if by chance there had existed at any time any detractor from this service, any enemy of this virtue, and envier of this renown, still I thought that Lucius Flaccus would have to encounter the judgment of an ignorant mob, (with no real danger, indeed,) rather than that of most wise and carefully chosen men. I never, indeed, imagined that any one would bring danger upon, or devise plots against, his fortunes, by means of those very men, by whose influence, and under whose protection, the safety, not only of all the citizens, but even of all nations, was at that time defended and preserved. And if it was fated ever to happen that any one should devise mischief to Lucius Flaccus, still I never thought, O judges, that Decimus Laelius, the son of a most virtuous man, himself a man of the fairest expectations and of the highest dignity, would adopt an accusation which is more suitable to the hatred and madness of wicked citizens than to his virtue and to the training of his early years. Indeed, as I had often seen well-founded enmities with citizens who had deserved well of their country, laid aside by the most illustrious men, I did not think that any friend of the republic, after the affection of Lucius Flaccus had been thoroughly tried, would take up a fresh quarrel against him without having received any injury.

3 But since, O judges, many things have deceived us, both in our own affairs and in those of the republic, those things which must be borne, we bear. This only we ask of you,—that you will consider that the whole strength of the republic,—the whole constitution of the state,—all the memory of past, and the safety of present and the hope of future time, hangs and depends upon your power, upon your votes, upon this single trial. If ever the republic has had need to

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implore the wisdom, the gravity, the prudence and the foresight of her judges, she implores it now,—she implores it, I say, at this present time.

ch. 2

You are not now about to decide on the constitution of Lydians, or Mysians, or Phrygians, who, under the influence of some compulsion or excitement have come before you; but on your own republic,—on the constitution of your own state,—on the common safety,—on the hope of all good men, if there is any such still remaining to support the minds and thoughts of brave citizens. Every other refuge of good men,—every other protection of innocent men,—every bulwark of the republic, wisdom, assistance, and laws, has failed.

4 For whom else can I appeal to? whom can I cite? whom can I entreat? The senate? Nay; the senate itself implores assistance from you, and feels that the confirmation of its authority is submitted to your decision. The Roman knights? You yourselves, the fifty chief men of that body, will declare how far your sentiments are in unison with those of the rest. Shall I appeal to the Roman people? That body has delivered over to you all its power over us in our case. Wherefore, unless we can maintain in this place, and before you, and by your means, O judges, I will not say our authority, for that is lost but our safety, which hangs on a slender hope, and that hope our last, we have no place of refuge beyond to which we can betake ourselves. Unless perchance, O judges, you fail to see, as yet, what is the real object of this proceeding, what is really at stake, and what is the cause, the foundations of which are being now laid.

5 The man has been condemned who slew Catiline when he was bearing his hostile standards against his country. What reason is there why he who drove Catiline from the city should be exempt from fear? That man is demanded for punishment who discovered the proofs of the common destruction of all which was then being planned. Why should he feel safe who took care to produce and divulge those proofs? The partners of his counsels, his ministers and comrades are harassed. What are the leaders, and chiefs, and principal men of his party to expect? We should then see whether at that time all good men were my guides or my companions in preserving the common safety of


He preferred saying they were strangled. [Note]


What did my friend Caetra wish?


And what did Decianus?


And I wish that my enemies, and those of all good men, would rather attack me; I wish it really was mine. The senate to a great extent


O ye immortal gods! that Lentulus


[What [Note] was the use of bringing forward foreign evidence,] when his domestic life and his natural disposition was notorious? Therefore, I will not, O Decimus Laelius, allow you to assume this law and this condition as applicable to yourself and to the rest for the future, and to us at present

When you have branded his youth, when you have stigmatized the rest of his life with stains of infamy, when you have brought forward the ruin of his private affairs and his disgrace in the city, and his vices and crimes in Spain and Gaul and Cilicia, and Crete, in which provinces he lived in no great obscurity, then we shall hear what the people of Tmolus and the Lorymeni think of Lucius Flaccus. But the man whom so many and such influential provinces wish to be saved,—whom many citizens from all parts of Italy defended, being bound to him by intimate connection and old friendship,—whom this the common country of us all holds fast in her embrace, on account of her fresh recollection of his great services,—him, even if all Asia demands him for punishment, I will defend,—his enemies I will resist. What if it is not all Asia that demands him, nor the best part of it nor even any part without bribery, nor of its own accord, nor rightly, nor in a manner according to custom, nor with truth, nor with any conscientious regard to justice or honesty? If it duly demands him because it has been persuaded, and tampered with, and excited, and compelled to do so,—if it has backed this prosecution with its name impiously, and rashly, and covetously, and with great inconsistency, speaking only by the mouth of the most needy witnesses, and if the province itself has no grounds to complain with truth of any injuries done by him; still, O judges, will these statements,

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heard with reference to a very brief epoch diminish the credit due to actions which we really know, extending over a long period of time?

I, therefore, as his defender, will preserve this order which his enemy avoids; and I will pursue and follow up the prosecutor, and of my own accord I will demand the accusation from our adversary. What is it, O Laelius? Have you at any time been able to stigmatize the youth of Lucius Flaccus, who has passed his time, not in the shade, nor in the common pursuits and training of those his age? In truth, even as a boy he went with his father, the consul, to the wars; and yet, even as to this very fact you accused him of something because [something [Note] appeared able to be said so as to excite suspicion.]

ch. 3

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

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