Cicero, de Provinciis Consularibus (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Prov.].
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8 But I am not bringing forward these facts at this moment, O conscript fathers, as charges against this man, I am merely arguing with respect to the province. Therefore I pass over all those things which you have often heard of and which you are well aware of, even when you do not hear of them. I say nothing of his audacious conduct in the city, which he has fixed deep in the recollection of your eyes and minds; I say nothing of his arrogance, of his insolence, of his cruelty. Let those dark acts of lust of his lie hid, acts which he tried to conceal by his stern countenance and supercilious look, not by modesty and temperance. I am arguing about the province, the welfare of which is at stake in this matter. Will you not send a successor to such a man as this? Will you allow him to remain any longer? a man whose fortune, from the very moment

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that he first reached the province, has so vied with his wickedness, that no one could decide whether he was more undeserving or more unfortunate.


But as for Syria, is that Semiramis any longer to be retained there? a man whose march into the province bore the appearance of king Ariobarzanes having hired your consul to come and commit murder, as if he were some Thracian. His very first arrival in Syria was signalized by the destruction of the cavalry; after that, all his best cohorts were cut to pieces. Therefore, in Syria, since he has been the commander-in-chief, nothing has been done beyond making money-bargains with tyrants, and selling decisions, and committing robbery and piracy and massacre; while the general of the Roman people, with his army in battle array, stretching forth his right hand, did not exhort his soldiers to the pursuit of glory, but only kept crying out that everything had been bought by him and was to be bought still.

ch. 5


And as for the miserable farmers of the revenue, (miserable man that I also am, when I see the miseries and sufferings of those men who have deserved so well at my hands,) he handed them over as slaves to the Jews and Syrian nations, themselves born for slavery. He laid down as a rule from the very beginning, and he persevered in it, never to decide an action in favour of a farmer of the revenue; he rescinded covenants that had been made without any injustice, he took away all the garrisons established for their protection; he released many people who were subject to pay tributes and taxes from such payments; whatever town he was living in or whatever town he arrived at, there he forbade any farmer of the revenue or any servant of such farmer to remain. Why need I enlarge on this? He would be considered a cruel man if he had shown such a disposition towards our enemies, as he did show towards Roman citizens, especially towards those of that order which has hitherto always been maintained by its own dignity and by the goodwill of the magistrates.


Therefore, O conscript fathers, you see that the farmers of the revenue were ground down and nearly ruined, not by any rashness with which they had entered into their contracts, nor by any ignorance of the proper methods of transacting business, but by the avarice, the pride, and the cruelty of Gabinius. And to their assistance indeed, in the present difficulties of the treasury,

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it is actually indispensable that you should come. Although there are many of them whom you cannot now relieve, men who by the means of that enemy of the senate of that most bitter foe of the equestrian order and of all virtuous men, wretched that they are, have lost not only their property but their honourable position; men whom neither parsimony nor temperance nor virtue nor labour nor respectability of character, have been able to protect against the audacity of that glutton and robber.


What are we to do? shall we suffer those men to perish who are even now supporting themselves on the resources of their patrimony or on the liberality of their friends? Or, suppose any man has been prevented by the enemies means from enjoying his public rights is that man protected by the law of the censors? but in the case of a man who is prevented by one who is an enemy, though he may not be actually called one, is that a man whom we ought not to assist? Retain then in the province a little longer that man who makes covenants with the enemy respecting the allies and with the allies respecting the citizens,—who thinks himself a more important man than his colleague on this account that he has deceived you by his morose appearance and by his countenance, while he himself has never once pretended to be less worthless than he really is. But Piso boasts in another sort of fashion that he in a very short time has brought it to pass that Gabinius is not thought the most infamous of all men.

ch. 6


Do not you think that you ought to recall these men from their provinces even if you had no one to send thither in their places? Would you, could you retain there these two pests of the allies, these men who are the destruction of the soldiers, the ruin of the farmers of the revenue, the desolators of the provinces, the disgracers of the empire? But you, yourselves, in the preceding year did recall these very men when they had only just arrived in the provinces. And if at that time your judgment had been unfettered and if the matter had not been so frequently adjourned and at the last taken wholly out of your hands you would have restored your authority, as you were most anxious to do recalling those men by whom it had been lost and compelling them to render up the rewards which they had received and whom had been conferred on them in return for their wickedness and for the

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overthrow of their country. And if they at that time escaped from that punishment, through no merit of their own, but through the influence of others, greatly against your consent, still they have undergone a much greater and severer punishment.

Cicero, de Provinciis Consularibus (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Prov.].
<<Cic. Prov. 6 Cic. Prov. 10 (Latin) >>Cic. Prov. 16

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