Cicero, in Pisonem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Pis.].
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4

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.

5 By my patience and complaisant conduct I propitiated Antonius my colleague eager for a province, and cherishing many designs injurious to the republic. I in the public assembly renounced the province of Gaul, fully equipped and well appointed with an army and with funds by the authority of the senate, which I had taken in exchange from Antonius, because I thought it advantageous to the republic at that time that I should do so in spite of the outcry raised by the Roman people against my doing so. I ordered Lucius Catiline planning not obscurely, but openly, the slaughter of the senate and the destruction of the city, to depart from the city in order that you might be protected by our walls from his designs from which our laws were insufficient to defend us. I wrested from the nefarious hands of the conspirators the weapons which in the last month of my consulship were aimed at the throats of the citizens. I seized, and brought to light and extinguished the firebrands which were already kindled for the conflagration of the city.

ch. 3

6

Quintus Catulus the chief of this body the great leader of the public council, in the fullest possible house, called me the father of my country. This most illustrious man, who is at this moment sitting close to you, Lucius Gellius, in the hearing of all these people, said that a civic crown was owed to me by the republic. [Note] Though I was only clad in the garb of peace, the senate, by an unprecedented sort of supplication, opened the temples of the gods in my

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honour; not because I had successfully governed the republic, that being a compliment which had been paid to many, but because I had saved it, that being an honour which has never been conferred on any one. When in the assembly of the people, on giving up my office, I was prevented saying what I had intended by the tribune of the people, and when he would only allow me to take the oath, I swore without any hesitation that the republic and this city had been saved by my single exertions.

7 On that day, the entire Roman people gave me in that assembly, not a congratulation to be remembered for the rest of the day, but they gave me immortality and eternal glory, when they themselves swearing also, with one voice and consent approved of my oath couched in such proud and triumphant words. And on that occasion, my return home from the forum was of such a nature that there did not appear to be a single citizen who was not in my train. And my consulship was conducted throughout in such a manner, that I did nothing without the advice of the senate,—nothing without the approbation of the Roman people; that in the rostra I constantly defended the senate,—in the senate-house I was the unwearied advocate of the people; that in that manner, I united the multitude with the chief men, and the equestrian order with the senate. I have now briefly described my consulship.

ch. 4

8

Dare now, O you Fury to describe yours; the beginning of which was the Compitalitian games, then first celebrated since the time that Lucius Metellus and Quintus Marcius were consuls, contrary to the inclination of this order: games which Quintus Metellus (I am doing injury to a gallant man who is dead when I compare him, to whom this city has produced few equals, to this ill-omened beast)—but he, being consul elect when a certain tribune of the people, relying on his own power, had ordered the master of the games to celebrate them in contempt of a resolution passed by the senate, though still a private individual, forbade it to be done, and he carried that point by the weight of his character, which he had not as yet any power to enforce. You, when the day of the Compitalitia [Note] had fallen on the first

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of January, permitted Sextus Clodius, who had never before filled any office which entitled him to wear the pratetexta, to celebrate the games, and to strut about in a praetexta like a profligate man, as he was, a man thoroughly worthy of your countenance and regard.

9 Therefore, when you had laid this foundation of your consulship, three days after, while you were looking on in silence, the Aelian and Fufian law, that bulwark and wall of tranquillity and peace, was overturned by Publius Clodius, that fatal prodigy and monster of the republic. Not only the guilds which the senate had abolished were restored but countless new ones were established of all the dregs of the city and even of slaves. The same man, immersed in unheard of and impious debaucheries, abolished that old preceptress of modesty and charity, the severity of the censor, while you in the mean time, you sepulchre of the republic, you who say that you were at that time consul at Rome, never by one single word intimated any opinion of your own amid such a terrible shipwreck of the state.

ch. 5



Cicero, in Pisonem (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Pis.].
<<Cic. Pis. fr1 Cic. Pis. 6 (Latin) >>Cic. Pis. 12

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