Cicero, pro Lege Manilia (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Man.].
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1

Although, O Romans, your numerous assembly has always seemed to me the most agreeable body that any one can address, and this place, which is most honourable to plead in, has also seemed always the most distinguished place for delivering an oration in, still I have been prevented from trying this road to glory, which has at all times been entirely open to every virtuous man, not indeed by my own will, but by the system of life which I have adopted from my earliest years. For as hitherto I have not dared, on account of my youth, to intrude upon the authority of this place, and as I considered that no arguments ought to be brought to this place except such as were the fruit of great ability, and worked up with the greatest industry, I have thought it fit to devote all my time to the necessities of my friends.

2 And accordingly, this place has never been unoccupied by men who were defending your cause, and my industry, which has been virtuously and honestly employed about the dangers of private individuals, has received its most honourable reward in your approbation. For when, on account of the adjournment of the comitia, I was three times elected the first praetor by all the centuries, I easily perceived, O Romans, what your opinion of me was, and what conduct you enjoined to others. Now, when there is that authority in me which you, by conferring honours on me, have chosen that there should be, and all that facility in pleading which almost daily practice in speaking can give a vigilant man who has habituated himself to the forum, at all events, if I have any authority, I will employ it before those who have given it to me; and if I can accomplish anything by speaking, I will display it to those men above all others, who have thought fit, by their decision, to confer honours on that qualification.

3 And, above all things, I see that I have reason to rejoice on this account, that, since I am speaking in this place, to which I am so entirely unaccustomed, I have a cause to advocate in which eloquence can hardly fail any one; for I have to speak of the eminent and extraordinary virtue of Cnaeus Pompey; and it is harder for me to find out how to end a discourse on such a subject, than how to begin one. So that what I have to seek for is not so much a variety of arguments, as moderation in employing them.

ch. 2

4

And, that my oration may take its origin from the same source from which all this cause is to be maintained; an important war, and one perilous to your revenues and to your allies, is being waged against you by two most powerful kings, Mithridates and Tigranes. One of these having been left to himself, and the other having been attacked, thinks that an opportunity offers itself to him to occupy all Asia. Letters are brought from Asia every day to Roman knights, most honourable men, who have great property at stake, which is all employed in the collection of your revenues; and they, in consequence of the intimate connection which I have with their order, have come to me and entrusted me with the task of pleading the cause of the republic, and warding off danger from their private fortunes.

5 They say that many of the villages of Bithynia, which is at present a province belonging to you, have been burnt; that the kingdom of Ariobarzanes, which borders on those districts from which you derive a revenue, is wholly in the power of the enemy; that Lucullus, after having performed great exploits, is departing from that war; that it is not enough that whoever succeeds him should be prepared for the conduct of so important a war; that one general is demanded and required by all men, both allies and citizens, for that war; that he alone is feared by the enemy, and that no one else is.

6

You see what the case is; now consider what you ought to do. It seems to me that I ought to speak in the first place of the sort of war that exists; in the second place, of its importance; and lastly, of the selection of a general. The kind of war is such as ought above all others to excite and inflame your minds to a determination to persevere in it. It is a war in which the glory of the Roman people is at stake; that glory which has been handed down to you from your ancestors, great indeed in everything, but most especially in military affairs. The safety of our friends and allies is at stake, in behalf of which your ancestors have waged many most important wars. The most certain and the largest revenues of the Roman people are at stake; and if they be lost, you will be at a loss for the luxuries of peace, and the sinews of war. The property of many citizens is at stake, which you ought greatly to regard, both for your own sake, and for that of the republic.

ch. 3

7

And since you have at all times been covetous of glory and greedy of praise beyond all other nations, you have to wipe out that stain, received in the former Mithridates War, which has now fixed itself deeply and eaten its way into the Roman name, the stain arising from the fact that he, who in one day marked down by one order, and one single letter, all the Roman citizens in all Asia, scattered as they were over so many cities, for slaughter and butchery, has not only never yet suffered any chastisement worthy of his wickedness, but now, twenty-three years after that time, is still a king, and a king in such a way that he is not content to hide himself in Pontus, or in the recesses of Cappadocia, but he seeks to emerge from his hereditary kingdom, and to range among your revenues, in the broad light of Asia.



Cicero, pro Lege Manilia (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Man.].
<<Cic. Man. 1 Cic. Man. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Man. 11

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