Cicero, pro Rabirio Perduellionis Reo (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Rab. Perd.].
<<Cic. Rab. Perd. 12 Cic. Rab. Perd. 19 (Latin English(2)) >>Cic. Rab. Perd. 24

16Wretched is the loss of one's good name in the public courts, wretched, too, a monetary fine exacted from one's property, and wretched is exile, but, still, in each calamity there is retained some trace of liberty. Even if death is set before us, we may die in freedom. But the executioner, the veiling of heads, and the very word “cross,” let them all be far removed from not only the bodies of Roman citizens but even from their thoughts, their eyes, and their ears. The results and suffering from these doings as well as the situation, even anticipation, of their enablement, and, in the end, the mere mention of them are unworthy of a Roman citizen and a free man. Or is that, while the kindness of their masters frees our slaves from the fear of all these punishments with one stroke of the staff of manumission, neither our exploits nor the lives we have lived nor honors you have bestowed will liberate us from scourging, from the hook, and, finally, from the terror of the cross?

17Accordingly, I admit, and even, Labienus, state openly and declare outright that you were dislodged from that savage and unacceptable proceeding, one befitting not a tribune but a king, by my strategy, by my courage, and by my influence. In this proceeding, although you brushed aside all the precedents of our ancestors, the whole authority of the senate, every sanction of religion and public rule of augury, nonetheless, you will not hear about these matters from me in this, all too short time of mine. Free time will be available for us to discuss them later.

ch. 6

18Now, we shall speak about the charges concerning Saturninus and the death of your most distinguished uncle. You allege that Lucius Saturninus was killed by Gaius Rabirius. Yet, that accusation on an earlier occasion Gaius Rabirius, with the testimony of many witnesses and with Quintus Hortensius' very copious defense, demonstrated to be false. I, however, were I at liberty to do so, would take up this charge, recognize it, acknowledge it. O, how I wish this case afforded me the opportunity and the ability to proclaim that Lucius Saturninus, enemy of the Roman people, was killed by Gaius Rabirius.—Your shouting does not disturb me at all. Rather, it reassures me since it shows that there are some foolish citizens but not many. Never would the Roman people who remain silent have made me consul if they thought I would be shaken by your shouting. How much quieter your outcries have become already! Yes, you are checking your voice, informer upon your stupidity, witness to your paltry numbers!—

19 Gladly, as I say, would I acknowledge, if I were in truth able or even if I were at liberty to do so, that Lucius Saturninus was killed by the hand of Gaius Rabirius. I would deem it a most glorious misdeed. But seeing that I cannot do this, what I will confess will be less efficacious for his reputation but not less for the charge against him. I confess that Gaius Rabirius took up weapons for the purpose of killing Saturninus. How is that, Labienus? What fuller confession, what more serious charge against my client were you expecting? Unless, of course, you do reckon that there is a difference between a man who has killed a man and a man who was armed for the purpose of killing a man. If it was wrong for Saturninus to be killed, weapons cannot be taken up against Saturninus without entailing a crime. If, however, you concede that weapons were taken up lawfully, [then, by necessity, you must concede that he was killed lawfully].

ch. 7

20A decree of the senate was passed that Gaius Marius and Lucius Valerius, consuls, summon the tribunes of the commoners and the praetors who seemed to them suitable, and give their attention that the sovereignty and majesty of the Roman people be preserved. They summon all the tribunes of the commoners except Saturninus, the [praetors] except Glaucia. They order whoever wishes the Republic to be safe to take up weapons and follow them. All obey. From the temple of Sancus and the public armories, weapons are given to the Roman people, with the Gaius Marius, consul, overseeing the distribution.

At this juncture, to pass over the rest, I have a question for you personally, Labienus. Since Saturninus was holding the Capitolium under arms, with him were Gaius Glaucia, Gaius Saufeius, and even that Gracchus from the shackles of the workhouse, and I will add to their number, as you want it so, your uncle Quintus Labienus, and since, on the other hand, in the forum were the consuls Gaius Marius and Lucius Valerius Flaccus, and behind them, the entire senate (that senate that you yourselves, who elicit ill-will against the present day senators, [are wont to praise], so that more easily you can disparage the present senate), since the order of the knights—but what knights, immortal gods! of our fathers and of that time, who held a large part of the Republic and all the honor of the public courts—since all men of all orders who believed that on the survival of the Republic rested their own survival had taken up weapons, just what was Gaius Rabirius to do?

21I ask of you personally, Labienus. After the consuls had issued the call to arms in accord with the decree of the senate, after an armed Marcus Aemilius, first senator of the senate, had assumed his post in the Comitium, a man who, although he could barely walk, reckoned his slowness of foot would be an impediment not for pursuit but for flight and, at last, after Quintus Scaevola, consumed by old age, wasted by disease, crippled, stricken in arm and leg, and disabled, leaned on his spear and displayed the strength of his mind and infirmity of his body, after Lucius Metullus, Servius Galba, Gaius Serranus, Publius Rutilius, Gaius Fimbria, Quintus Catulus and all who at the time were former consuls had taken up weapons for the common safety, after all the praetors, the entire nobility and youth were on the run, Gnaeus and Lucius Domitius, Lucius Crassus, Quintus Mucius, Gaius Claudius, Marcus Drusus, after all the men named Octavius, Metellus, Iulius, Cassius, Cato, and Pompeius, after Lucius Philippus, Lucius Scipio, after Marcus Lepidus, after Decimus Brutus, after Publius Servilius himself, present here today, under whose generalship, Labienus, you served, after Quintus Catulus, present here today, merely a youth at the time, after Gaius Curio, present here today, and, finally, after all the most famous men were with the consuls, just what was it proper for Gaius Rabirius to do? Was he to ensconce himself in the dark, shut in and hidden, concealing his own cowardice with the safeguards of shadows and walls? Or was he to proceed to the Capitolium and join up with your uncle and the others who were seeking refuge in death because of the repulsiveness of their lives? Or with Marius, Scaurus, Catulus, Metellus, Scaevola, and with all good men, was he to enter into an alliance of both survival and peril?

ch. 8

Cicero, pro Rabirio Perduellionis Reo (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Rab. Perd.].
<<Cic. Rab. Perd. 12 Cic. Rab. Perd. 19 (Latin English(2)) >>Cic. Rab. Perd. 24

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