Cicero, de Lege Agraria (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Agr.].
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1.19 Our ancestors removed from Capua the magistrates, the senate, the general council, and all the ensigns of the republic, and left nothing there except the bare name of Capua; not out of cruelty, (for what was ever more merciful than they were? for they often restored their property even to foreign enemies when they had been subdued;) but out of wisdom; because they saw that if any trace of the republic remained within those walls, the city itself might be able to afford a home to supreme power. And would not you too see how mischievous these things were, if you were not desirous of overturning the republic, and of procuring a new sort of power for your own selves?

ch. 7


For what is there that is especially to be guarded against in the establishment of colonies? If it be luxury—Capua corrupted Hannibal himself. If it be pride—that appears from the general arrogance of the Campanians to be innate there. If we want a bulwark for the state—then I say, that Capua is not placed in front of this city as an outwork, but is opposed to it as an enemy. But how is it armed? O ye immortal gods! For in the Punic war all the power that Capua had, it had from its unassisted resources; but now, all the cities which are around Capua will be occupied by colonists, by the order of these same decemvirs. For, for this reason, the law itself allows, “that the decemvirs may lead whoever they please as settlers to every town which they choose.” And it orders the Campanian district, and that of Stella, to be divided among these colonists.

1.21 I do not complain of the diminution of the revenues; nor of the wickedness of this loss and injury. I pass over those things which there is no one who cannot complain of with the greatest weight and the greatest truth; that we have not been able to preserve the most important part of the public patrimony of the state, that which has been to us the source of our supply of corn, our granary in time of war, our revenue placed under custody of the seals and bolts of the republic; that we, in short, have abandoned that district to Publius Rullus, which itself by its own resources had resisted both the absolute power of Sulla, and the corrupting liberality of the Gracchi. I do not say that, now that so much has been lost, this is the only revenue which remains in the republic; the only one which, while other sources of income are interrupted, does not fail us; the only one which is splendid in peace, is; not worn out in war; which supports our soldiery, and is not afraid of our enemies. I pass over all this which I might say; I reserve that for the assembly of the people. I am speaking now of the danger to our safety and to our liberty.

1.22 For what do you think will remain to you unimpaired in the whole republic, or in your liberty, or in your dignity, when Rullus, and those whom you are much more afraid of than you are of Rullus, with his whole band of needy and unprincipled men, with all his forces, with all his silver and gold, shall have occupied Capua and the cities around Capua? These things, O conscript fathers, I will resist eagerly and vigorously; and I will not permit men, while I am consul, to bring forth those plans against the republic which they have long been meditating.

1.23 You made a great mistake, O Rullus, you and some of your colleagues, when you hoped that, in being in opposition to a consul who studied the interests of the people in reality, not by making a vain parade of so doing, you would be able to gain popularity while overturning the republic. I challenge you; I invite you to the assembly; I will accept the Roman people as an umpire between us

ch. 8

In fact, if we look round to survey everything which is; pleasant and acceptable to the people, we shall find that nothing is so popular as peace, and concord, and ease. You have given up to me a city made anxious with suspicion, in suspense from fear, harassed to death by your proposed laws, and assemblies, and seditions. You have inflamed the hopes of the wicked; you have filled the virtuous with alarms; you have banished good faith from the forum, and dignity from the republic.

1.24 Amid all this commotion and agitation of minds and circumstances, when the voice and authority of the consul has suddenly, from amid such great darkness, dawned on the Roman people; when it has shown that nothing need be feared; that no regular army, no band of extempore ruffians, no colony, no sale of the revenues, no new of command, no reign of decemvirs, no new Rome or opposition seat of empire, will be allowed to exist while we are consuls; that the greatest tranquillity of peace and ease will be secured; then, no doubt, we shall have much reason to ear that this beautiful agrarian law of yours will appear popular.

1.25 But when I have displayed the wickedness of your counsels, the dishonesty of your law, and the treachery which is planned by those popular tribunes of the people against the Roman people; then, I suppose, I shall have reason to fear that I shall not be allowed to appear in the assembly, for the purpose of opposing you; especially when I have determined and resolved so to conduct myself in my consulship, (and the duties of the consulship cannot be discharged with dignity and freedom, in any other manner,) as neither to desire any province, nor honour, nor dignity nor advantage nor anything whatever which can have any hindrance thrown in its way by any tribune of the people.

Cicero, de Lege Agraria (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Agr.].
<<Cic. Agr. 1.15 Cic. Agr. 1.21 (Latin) >>Cic. Agr. 1.27

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