Cicero, in Pisonem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Pis.].
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This has nothing to do with leading us to think slightly of Placentia, of which place he boasts that he is a native: for my nature does not incline me to his; nor does the dignity of a municipal town, especially of one which has

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deserved exceedingly well at my hands, allow me to entertain such feelings.


There was a certain Insubrian who was both a merchant and a crier; he, when he had come to Rome with his daughter, ventured to call a young man of high birth, named Caesoninus, the son of a most thorough rogue: he gave his daughter in marriage to <him>. And she became the mother of you, a beast rather than a man. [Concerning Piso's maternal grandfather] When he had settled on the banks of the Po at Placentia, a few years afterwards he obtained the freedom of that city; for it was a city at that time. For before that he was considered a Gaul; then a man of Gallic extraction; and at last he began to be considered a sort of half-Placentian.


That Insubrian grandfather of his adopted the elder


Your father wanted a more luxurious son-in-law than Caius Piso did at that time of his distress I did not give my daughter in marriage to that man whom, when I had the power of choosing from all the world, I should have selected in preference to any one.


When the whole of your relations arrive in a wagon

You put out your head, butting at him

I was sitting next to Pompeius

ch. 1


Do you not see now, do you not feel, O you beast, what complaints men make of your impudence? No one complains that a Syrian, that a man whom nobody knows, that some one of that body of lately emancipated slaves, was made consul. For that complexion, like that of slaves, and those hairy cheeks and discoloured teeth, did not deceive us: your eyes, your eyebrows, your brow, in short your whole countenance, which is, as it were, a sort of silent language of the mind, led men into error, this it was which led those to whom this man was unknown into mistake and error, and blunders. There were but few of us who were acquainted with those foul vices of yours; few of us who knew the deficiency of your abilities, your stolid manner, and your embarrassed way of speaking. Your voice had never been heard in the forum; no one had had any experience of your wisdom in counsel: you had not only never performed any, I will not say illustrious exploit, but any action at all

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that was known of either in war or at home. You crept into honours through men's blunders, by the recommendation of some old smoke-dried images, though there is nothing in you at all resembling them except your colour.

2 Will he also boast to me that he obtained even magistracy without one repulse? I am able to make that boast concerning myself with true exultation; for the Roman people did confer all its honours on me in that way-on me, a new man. But when you were made quaestor, even men who had never seen you gave that honour to your name. You were made aedile. A Piso was elected by the Roman people; but not the Piso that you are. The praetorship also was conferred in reality on your ancestors. They, though dead, were well known; but no one had as yet known anything of you, though you were alive.

When the Roman people made me quaestor among the first of the candidates, and first aedile, and first praetor, as they did by a unanimous vote, they were paying that compliment to me on my own account and not to my family,—to my habits of life, not to my ancestors,—to my proved virtue, and not to any nobleness of birth of which they had heard.

3 For why should I speak of my consulship? whether as to the manner in which it was obtained, or in which it was conducted? Wretched man that I am! am I comparing myself to this disgrace and plague of the republic? But I will say nothing with the view of drawing any comparison; but I will bring together those circumstances which are very widely separated. You were declared consul (I will say nothing more severe than what all men admit to be true) at a time when the affairs of the republic were in a state of great embarrassment, when the consuls Caesar and Bibulus were at variance, when you had no objection to those men by whom you were declared consul thinking you undeserving of the light of day if you did not prove more worthless than Gabinius. All Italy, all ranks of men, the entire city declared me the first consul with acclamation even before they gave in their voting tablets.

ch. 2

But I say nothing of the circumstances under which each of us was elected. I will allow that chance may have been the mistress of the Campus Martius. It is more to the purpose to say how we conducted ourselves in our respective consulships, than how we obtained them.


I, on the first of January, delivered the senate and all

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virtuous citizens from the fear of an agrarian law and of extravagant largesses. I preserved the Campanian district, if it was not expedient that it should be divided; if it was expedient, I reserved it for more respectable authors of the division. I, in the case of Caius Rabirius, a man on his trial for high treason, supported and defended against envy the authority of the senate which had been interposed forty years before the time of my consulship. I, at the cost of incurring great enmity myself, but without any enmity falling on the senate, deprived some young men—virtuous and brave men indeed but still men in such a peculiar condition that if they had obtained magistracies they would have convulsed the constitution of the republic of the opportunity of canvassing the comitia.

Cicero, in Pisonem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Pis.].
<<Cic. Pis. fr1 Cic. Pis. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Pis. 7

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