Cicero, pro Sestio (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Sest.].
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If any one in times past, O judges, was used to wonder what was the reason why in a republic of such power, and in an empire of such dignity, there were not found any great number of citizens endowed with so fearless and magnanimous a spirit as to dare to expose themselves and their personal safety to danger on behalf of the constitution of the state and of the general liberty; from henceforward he must wonder if he ever sees any virtuous or intrepid citizens, rather than if he occasionally finds one timid, and caring more for his own interests than for those of the republic. For without calling to mind and considering the case of each separate individual, you can see at one survey those men who joined the senate and all virtuous citizens in raising up our afflicted country, and delivering it from a horde of domestic robbers, now with sad countenances and mourning garments struggling as defendants for their freedom, for their characters, for their rights as citizens, for their fortunes, and for their children; and those who have polluted, and attacked, and thrown into confusion,

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and overturned all divine and human laws, going about the city merry and joyful, and, while they are without any provocation, contriving danger for the bravest and best of the citizens, in no fear whatever for themselves.

2 And though there is much that is scandalous in such a state of things, yet is there nothing more intolerable than that they now seek to employ not their bands of robbers, not men desperate through want and wickedness, but you yourselves, the best men in the city, for the purpose of bringing us and other most virtuous men into danger. And they now think that, as they were unable to destroy them by stones, and swords, and firebrands, by violence, and personal force, and armed bands, they will be able to effect their purpose through the instrumentality of your authority, your integrity, and your judicial decisions.

But, O judges, since I am compelled now to exert that voice in order to ward off danger from them, which I had hoped to be able to devote to returning thanks to, and to commemorating the kindness of those men who have conferred the greatest services on me, I entreat you to allow that voice to be useful to them to whose exertions it is owing that it has been restored at all to myself, and to you and to the Roman people.

ch. 2


And although the case of Publius Sestius has been summed up by Quintus Hortensius, that most illustrious and most eloquent man; and though nothing has been omitted by him which he could possibly urge either in the way of complaint over the condition of the republic, or of argument for the defendant; still I will come forward also to speak for him, lest my exertions in defence should appear to be wanting to that man to whom it is owing that they are not wanting to every one of the citizens. And I consider, O judges, that in this case, and now speaking as I am at the close of it, the part which belongs to me is to argue the matter on grounds of affection, rather than to defend my client by an appeal to the strict law; to employ complaints rather than eloquence, and to display my grief rather than my ability.

4 And, therefore, if I plead with more vehemence or more freedom than those who have spoken before me, I beg of you to listen to my speech with much indulgence, and to make all the allowance for it that you think is due to pious grief and just

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indignation. For no man's grief can be more intimately connected with his duty than this present grief of mine, being caused as it is by the peril of a man who has done me the greatest possible services. Nor is any indignation more praiseworthy than that with which I am inflamed by the wickedness of those men, who have thought it their business to declare war against all the defenders of my safety.

5 But since his other counsel have spoken of each separate charge, I will speak of the entire state of the case as affecting Publius Sestius of his conduct throughout his life of his natural disposition, of his habits, of his incredible affection for all good men, of his zeal for the preservation of the general safety and tranquillity; and I will endeavour—if it be only possible for me to succeed—to prevent anything, in all this miscellaneous and general defence, from appearing omitted by me which has any connection either with this investigation before you, or with the defendant, or with the republic.

And since the tribuneship of Publius Sestius was placed by fortune itself in the most critical period of the state, and amid the ruins of the overthrown and prostrate republic, I will not approach those most important and serious topics before I have first shown you by what beginnings, and on what foundations, the great glory was built up which he gained under the most trying circumstances.

ch. 3


Publius Sestius, O judges, was born (as most of you know) of a wise and conscientious and strict father, who, after he had been appointed as the first tribune of the people among a number of most noble men and in a prosperous time of the republic, was not so eager to obtain the other honours of the state as to seem worthy of them. By the advice of that father, he married the daughter of a most honourable and thoroughly tried man Caius Albinus by whom he had this boy whom you see here, and a daughter who is now married. My client was so highly esteemed by these two men of the highest class of old-fashioned virtue, that he was beyond all things beloved by and agreeable to both of them. The death of his daughter took away from Albinus the name of his father-in-law, but it did not take away the affection and good-will engendered by that connection. And to this very day he is very fond of him, as you may judge by his constant attendance here, and by his anxiety for him, and by his

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frequent solicitations to you on his behalf.

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

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