Cicero, pro Scauro (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Scaur.].
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ch. 22

2.1. a.

And this, I say, O judges, is the state of the case. Nor is this a new assertion of mine; but it has been elicited by the investigations of others

2.1. b.

[But still it can be proved by examples. Lucretia having been ravished by force by the king's son, having invoked the citizens to revenge her, slew herself. And this indignation of hers was the cause of liberty to the state. And even the bravest men have not sought death of their own accord, except in the most extreme necessity, for the purpose of avoiding some disgrace. As Publius Crassus Mucianus, when waging war against Aristonicus, in Asia, being intercepted between Elaea and Smyrna, by the Thracians, of whom Aristonicus had a great number in his different garrisons, and fearing to fall into his power, escaped disgrace by provoking death intentionally. For he is said to have run the stick which he had been using to manage his horse, into the eye of one of the barbarians, who, being infiltrated by the pain, stabbed Crassus with his dagger, and so, while avenging himself, delivered the Roman general from the disgrace of captivity. And by this means Crassus showed to Fortune how little the man whom she was loading with such bitter insult deserved it, since with equal prudence and courage he burst the chains which she was throwing over his liberty, and restored himself to his own dignity, though she had almost given him to Aristonicus.] This, indeed, we know from hearsay; but this we ourselves can recollect and have almost seen, namely, how Publius Crassus, of the same family and name, slew himself that he might not fall into the hands of the enemy.

But Marcus Aquillius, who had behaved like a thoroughly brave man in war, and who had attained the same honours as the elder Crassus, could not imitate his action

2.2 [but] he disgraced [the recollection of his you]th and of his early exploits by the infamy of his old age. What need I say besides? Could either those most illustrious men the Julii, or could Marcus Antonius a man of the very highest ability, imitate the conduct of the other Crassus in those times?

2.3Need I cite any more instances? Who is there found among all the records of Greece (which are richer in fine stories than in great actions) if you only forget Ajax and the plays of the tragedians, who of his own accord, as the poet says, being A conqueror all unused to infamy
Would not survive defeat,
except Themistocles the Athenian who did put himself to death?

2.4But these Greeks invent heaps of stories and among them they make out that Cleombrotus of Ambracia threw himself down from a high wall not because he had suffered any misfortune, but (as I see it written among the Greeks) after having read a very eloquently and elegantly written book, of that greatest of philosophers Plato about death; the one, I suppose, in which Socrates, on that very day on which he was to die, argues at great length that this is death which we fancy to be life when the soul is held in shut up in the body as in a prison and that that is life when the same soul, having been released from the bonds of the body, flies back to that place from which it originated.

2.5Had that Sardinian woman of yours then, known anything about or had she read Pythagoras or Plato? Though even these men praise death with such limitations that they forbid our flying from life, and say that such conduct is contrary to the conditions and laws of nature. And in truth you will not be able to find any other reason which can justify a voluntary death. And this, too, the prosecutor saw; for he let out an insinuation, somewhere, that that woman preferred being deprived of life to being robbed of her chastity.

2.6But immediately he went off from that point and said no more about chastity, being afraid, I suppose, lest he should be giving us some opportunity for joking and laughing. For it is quite notorious that she was abominably ugly and excessively old. And so, however lustful that Sardinian may have been, what suspicions of licentiousness or love can there be on the part of my client?


And that you may not suppose, O Triarius, that I am inventing the allegations which I am now making, and that I have not derived my information on the subject from the instructions of the defendant, I will tell you what were the opinions in Sardinia about that woman's death, (for there were two opinions,) so that you may the more easily [and that these men may see the innocence of Scaurus, and the audacity of your witnesses, and the scandalous nature of the actions which were then done. Aris, the husband of that Sardinian woman ] had for a long time loved [the mother of Bostar ]

2.8 a licentious and wicked woman, and had lived in shameless and notorious adultery with her. He was afraid of his wife, who was an old woman, rich and ill-tempered; still, though he did not like to keep her as his wife, because of her ugliness, he did not like to divorce her, because of her riches. And so, by previous agreement he concerted a plan with the mother of Bostar, that they should both of them come to Rome; and he promised that when there he would find out some contrivance for making her his wife.


There were, as I have said, two opinions,—one, not inconsistent with the circumstances or with the nature of the case, that the wife of Aris was very indignant at his adultery when she heard that he had fled to Rome with that love of his, pretending to have fled for fear of her, or in order, as there had been a criminal connection between them before, to be now formally joined in wedlock; and that she was so excited with feminine indignation, that she preferred dying to bearing it.

Cicero, pro Scauro (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Scaur.].
<<Cic. Scaur. 1.4. c. Cic. Scaur. 2.2 (Latin) >>Cic. Scaur. 2.14

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