Cicero, pro Plancio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Planc.].
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When, O judges, I saw that on account of the eminent and singular good faith of Cnaeus Plancius, shown in taking care of my safety, so many excellent men were favourers of his cause, I felt no ordinary pleasure, because I saw that the recollection of what happened at the time of my necessities was pleading for him whose kindness had been my preservation. But when I heard that men, some of whom were my enemies, and some of whom were envious of me, favoured this accusation and that the very same thing was now adverse to the interests of Cnaeus Plancius in this trial which had been advantageous to him in his canvass, I was grieved, O judges, and was very indignant at the idea of his safety being endangered for the sole reason that he, by his benevolence, and energy, and vigilance had protected my safety and my life.

2 But now, O judges, the sight of you, and the fact of such men as you being the judges, strengthens and refreshes my mind, when I look upon and behold each individual of you; for in all this number I see no one to whom my safety has not been dear, no one who has not acted with the greatest

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kindness towards me, no one to whom I am not under eternal obligations from the recollection of their services. Therefore I do not fear that the care shown by Cnaeus Plancius for my safety will be any injury to him with those men who themselves have wished above all things to see me in safety; and, O judges, it has more frequently come into my mind that it is a strange thing that Marcus Laterensis, a man who has shown the greatest regard for my dignity and safety, should have picked out this man of all the world to institute a prosecution against, than that I have any ground to fear lest he should appear to you to have had good reason for doing so.

3 Although I do not assume so much, or claim so much importance for myself, O judges, as to think that Cnaeus Plancius is entitled to impunity on account of his kindness towards me. If I do not display to you that his life is most upright, his habits most virtuous, his good faith unimpeachable,—if I do not prove him to be a man of perfect temperance, piety, and innocence, I will not object to your punishing him; but if I establish that he has every quality which may be expected in the character of a virtuous man, then I will beg of you, O judges, to grant, at my entreaty, your pity to that man, through whose pity it is that I myself have been preserved in safety. In truth, in addition to the labour which I am devoting to this cause, in a greater degree than I think necessary in other trials. I have this anxiety also, that I have not only to speak on behalf of Cnaeus Plancius, whose safety I am bound to defend equally with my own, but on behalf of myself also, since the prosecutors have said almost more about me than they have about the merits of the case, and about the real defendant.

ch. 2


Although, O judges, if they have found any fault in me which is not connected with the case of my present client, I am not much disturbed about that; for I am not afraid that, because it is a very rare thing to meet with grateful men, on that account it can really be considered as a charge against me when those men say that I am too grateful. But as for the points that have been urged by them, when they have said either that the services done me by Cnaeus Plancius were of less importance than I make them out to be; or that if they were ever so great, still they ought not to have that weight with you which I considered them entitled to; these

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points, O judges, must be touched on by me with moderation, indeed, lest I should give any offence myself; and not until I have fully replied to the accusations brought against him, lest my client should seem to have been defended not so much by his own innocence, as by the recollection of his conduct at the time of my necessity.


But, considering how plain and simple my case is, O judges, the line to be taken by me in defending it is exceedingly difficult and slippery. For if it were merely necessary for me to argue against Laterensis, yet even this would be a very vexatious thing, considering our great friendship and intimacy; for it is an old principle of genuine and real friendship, such as subsists between him and me, that friends should always have the same wishes; nor is there any surer bond of friendship than an agreement in and community of designs and wishes. But the most annoying circumstance to me in the case is, not that I have merely to argue against him, but much more, that I have to argue against him in a cause in which it seems impossible to avoid drawing some comparison between the parties themselves.

6 For Laterensis asks, and presses this point above all others, in what virtue, in what sort of renown or worth Plancius is superior to himself. And so, if I admit his high qualifications,—and he has plenty of them, and important ones too—I must not only run the risk of Plancius losing this dignity which he has obtained, but he must submit also to the suspicion of bribery. If I speak of my client as superior to him, then my speech will be considered insulting, and I shall be supposed to say, (as he puts the question himself,) that Laterensis was surpassed by Plancius in real worth. And so I must either hurt the feelings of a man who is a great friend of mine, if I follow the line taken by the prosecutor, or else I must abandon the safety of one who has behaved to me with the greatest kindness.

ch. 3

But I, O Laterensis, will confess that I should be conducting this cause in the most blind and headlong manner, if I were to say that you could be surpassed in worth by either Plancius, or any one else. Therefore I will discard that comparison to which you invite me and will proceed to those arguments to which the cause itself naturally conducts me.

Cicero, pro Plancio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Planc.].
<<Cic. Planc. 1 Cic. Planc. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Planc. 9

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