Cicero, in Vatinium (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Vat.].
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1

If, O Vatinius, I had chosen to regard merely what the unworthiness of your character deserved, I should have

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treated you in a way that would have been very pleasing to these men, and, as your evidence could not, on account of the infamy of your life and the scandal of your private conduct, be possibly considered of the slightest consequence, I should have dismissed you without saying a single word to you. For not one of these men considered it worth my while either to refute you, as if you were an adversary of any importance, or to question you, as if you were a scrupulous witness. But I was, perhaps, a little more intemperate just now than I should have been. For from detestation of you, in which, although, on account of your wicked conduct to me, I ought to go beyond all men, yet I am in fact surpassed by everybody, I was carried away so far, that though I did not despise you at all less than I detest you, still I chose to dismiss you in embarrassment and distress, rather than in contempt.

2Wherefore, that you may not wonder at my having paid you this compliment of putting questions to you, whom no one thinks worthy of being spoken to or visited, whom no one thinks deserving of a vote, or of the rights of a citizen, or even of the light of life; know that no motive would have induced me to do so, except that of repressing that ferocity of yours, and crushing your audacity, and checking your loquacity by entangling it in the few questions I should put to you. In truth, you ought, O Vatinius, even if you had become suspected by Publius Sestius undeservedly, still to pardon me, if, on the occasion of such great danger to a man who has done me such great services, I had yielded to the consideration of what his necessities required, and what his inclination deserved of me.

3But you unintentionally showed a few moments ago that you spoke falsely in the evidence which you gave yesterday, when you asserted that you had never had the least conversation with Albinovanus, not only about the prosecution of Sestius, but about anything whatever; and yet you said just now that Titus Claudius had been in communication with you, and had asked your advice with respect to the conduct of the prosecution against Sestius, and that Albinovanus, who you had said before was hardly known to you, had come to your house, and had held a long conversation with you. And lastly, you said that you had given to Albinovanus the written harangues of Publius Sestius, which he had never had any knowledge of, and did not know

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where to find, and that they had been read at this trial. And by one of these statements you confessed that the accusers had been instructed and suborned by you; and by the other you confessed your own inconsistency, liable to the double charge of folly and of perjury; when you stated that the man who you had previously said was an entire stranger to you, had come to your house, and that you had given the documents which he asked for to aid him in his accusation to a man whom you had from the beginning considered a trickster and a prevaricator.

ch. 2

4

You are too impetuous and fierce by nature. You do not think it allowable for a word to escape from any man's mouth which may not fall pleasantly and complimentary on your ears. You came forward in a rage with everybody which I perceived and comprehended the moment I saw you, before you began to speak, while Gellius, the dry nurse of all seditious men, was giving his evidence before you. For on a sudden you sprang forward like a serpent out of his hole, with eyes starting out of your head and your neck inflated and your throat swelling so that

5 I defended my old friend, who was, nevertheless an acquaintance of yours, though in this city an attack on another, such as you are now making, is sometimes found fault with, but the defence of a man never is.

But I ask you why I should not defend Caius Cornelius? I ask whether Cornelius has ever passed any law in defiance of the auspices? whether he has despised the Aelian or the Fufian law? when he has offered violence to the consul? whether he has occupied any temple with armed men? whether he has driven away by violence any magistrate who was exercising his veto? whether he has profaned any religious ceremonies? whether he has drained the treasury? whether he has pillaged the republic? These, all these, are actions of yours. No imputation of this sort is cast upon Cornelius. He was said to have read a document. [Note] It was urged in his defence, his colleagues giving evidence in support of his cause, that he read it not for the sake of reading it but for the sake of examining it more particularly. However, it was quite certain that Cornelius dismissed the council that day, and submitted to the interposition of the veto. But you who are

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offended at my defending Cornelius, what cause do you bring to your advocates to uphold, or what countenance have you to show? when you already point out to them in an imperious manner, what a disgrace it will be to them if they defend you by thinking the defence of Cornelius a matter for accusation and abuse of me.

6

However, Vatinius, remember this—that a little after the time when I defended him in a way which you say gave great offence to all good men, I was appointed consul in the most honourable manner in which any one has been elected since the memory of man, not only by the exceeding zeal in my behalf of the entire Roman people, but also by the special and extraordinary exertions in my cause of every virtuous man; and that I gained all these honours by living in a modest manner, which you have over and over again said that you hoped to obtain by dealing in the most impudent prophecies. [Note]

ch. 3

For as regards your having blamed me for my departure, and your having attempted to renew the grief and lamentation of those men to whom that day was most miserable, which, however, was to you most joyful, I will make you this reply,—that when you and the other pests of the republic were seeking a pretext to take up arms, and using my name as a cloak for your proceedings to pillage the property of the rich citizens, and to drink the blood of the chief men of the state, and satiate your barbarity and the long-standing hatred which you had cherished against all good men till it had become inveterate, I preferred to break the force of your frenzy and wickedness by yielding to it, rather than by resisting it.



Cicero, in Vatinium (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Vat.].
<<Cic. Vat. 1 Cic. Vat. 1 (Latin) >>Cic. Vat. 10

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