Cicero, pro Ligario (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Lig.].
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It is a new crime, and one never heard of before this day, O Caius Caesar, which my relation Quintus Tubero has brought before you, when he accuses Quintus Ligarius with having been in Africa; and that charge Caius Pansa, a man of eminent genius, relying perhaps on that intimacy with you which he enjoys, has ventured to confess. Therefore I do not know which way I had best proceed. For I had come prepared, as you did not know that fact of your own knowledge, and could not have heard it from any other quarter, to abase your ignorance in order to further the safety of a miserable man. But, however, since that which was previously unknown has been ferreted out by the diligence of his enemy we must, I suppose, confess the truth; especially as my dear friend Caius Pansa has so acted that it would not now be in my power to deny it. Therefore, abandoning all dispute of the fact, all my speech must be addressed to your mercy; by which many have already been preserved, having besought of

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you, not a release from all guilt, but pardon from admitted error.

2 You, therefore, O Tubero, have that which is of all things most desirable for a prosecutor, a defendant who confesses his fault; but still, one who confesses it only so far as he admits that he was of the same party as you yourself, O Tubero, were, and as that man worthy of all praise, your father, also was. Therefore you must inevitably confess yourselves also to be guilty, before you can find fault with any part of the conduct of Ligarius.

Quintus Ligarius, then, at a time when there was no suspicion of war, went as lieutenant into Africa with Caius Considius, in which lieutenancy he made himself so acceptable, both to our citizens there and to our allies, that Considius on departing from the province could not have given satisfaction to those men if he had appointed any one else to govern it. Therefore, Quintus Ligarius, after refusing it for a long time without effect, took upon himself the government of the province against his will. And while peace lasted, he governed it in such a manner that his integrity and good faith were most acceptable both to our citizens and to our allies.

3 On a sudden, war broke out, which those who were in Africa heard of as being actually raging before any rumour of its preparation had reached them. But when they did hear of it, partly out of an inconsiderate eagerness, partly out of some blind apprehension, they sought for some one as a leader, at first only with the object of securing their safety, and afterwards with that of indulging their party-spirit; while Ligarius, keeping his eyes fixed on home, and wishing to return to his friends, would not allow himself to be implicated in any business of the sort. In the meantime, Publius Attius Varus, who as praetor had obtained the province of Africa, came to Utica. Every one immediately flocked to him, and he seized on the government with no ordinary eagerness, if that may be called government which was conferred on him, while a private individual, by the clamour of an ignorant mob, without the sanction of any public council.

4 Therefore, Ligarius, who was anxious to avoid being mixed up in any transactions of the sort remained quiet for some time on the arrival of Varus.

ch. 2

Up to this point, O Caius Caesar, Quintus Ligarius is free from all blame. He left his home, not only not for the

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purpose of joining in any war, but when there was not even the slightest suspicion of war. Having gone as lieutenant in time of peace, he behaved himself in a most peaceable province in such a manner that it wished that peace might last for ever. Beyond all question, his departure from Rome with such an object ought not to be and cannot be offensive to you. Was, then, his remaining there offensive? Much less. For if it was no discreditable inclination that led to his going thither, it was even an honourable necessity which compelled him to remain. Both these times, then, are free from all fault—the time when he first went as lieutenant and the time when, having been demanded by the province, he was appointed governor of Africa.

5 There is a third time that during which he remained in Africa after the arrival of Varus; and if that is at all criminal, the crime is one of necessity, not of inclination. Would he, if he could possibly have escaped thence by any means whatever, would he rather have been at Utica than at Rome,—with Publius Attius, in preference to his own most united brothers,—would he rather have been among strangers, than with his own friends? When his lieutenancy itself had been full of regret and anxiety on account of the extraordinary affection subsisting between him and his brothers, could he possibly remain there with any equanimity when separated from those brothers by the discord of war?


You have, therefore, O Caesar, no sign as yet of the affections of Quintus Ligarius being alienated from you. And observe, I entreat you, with what good faith I am defending his cause. I am betraying my own by so doing. O the admirable clemency, deserving to be celebrated by all possible praise, and publicity, and writings, and monuments! Marcus Cicero is urging in Ligarius's defence before you, that the inclinations of another were not the same as he admits his own to have been; nor does he fear your silent thoughts, nor is he under any apprehension as to what while you are hearing of the conduct of another, may occur to you respecting his own.

ch. 3

See how entirely free from fear I am. See how brilliantly the light of your liberality and wisdom rises upon me while speaking before you. As far as I can, I will lift up my voice so that the Roman people may hear me.

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

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