Cicero, pro Murena (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Mur.].
<<Cic. Mur. 51 Cic. Mur. 57 (Latin) >>Cic. Mur. 63


But first of all I will say a little, which has just occurred to me, about the hard fortune of Lucius Murena. For I have often before now, O judges, judging both by the miseries of others, and by my own daily cares and labours, considered those men fortunate, who, being at a distance from the pursuits of ambition, have addicted themselves to ease and tranquillity of life; and now especially I am so affected by these serious and unexpected dangers of Lucius Murena, that I am unable adequately to express my pity for the common condition of all of us, or for his particular state and fortune; who while, after an uninterrupted series of honours attained by his family and his ancestors, he was endeavouring to mount one step higher in dignity, has incurred the danger of losing both the honours bequeathed to him by his forefathers, and those too which have been acquired by himself, and now, on account of his pursuit of this new honour, is brought into the danger of losing his ancient fortune also.

56 And as these are weighty considerations, O judges, so is this the most serious matter of all, that he has men for accusers who, instead of proceeding to accuse him on account of their private enmity against him, have become his personal enemies, being carried away by their zeal for their accusation. For, to say nothing of Servius Sulpicius, who, I am aware, is influenced not by any wrong done by Lucius Murena, but only by the party spirit engendered by the contest for honour, his father's friend, Cnaeus Postumius, is his accuser, an old neighbour and intimate friend of his own, as he says himself; who has mentioned many reasons for his intimacy with him, while he has not been able to mention one for any enmity towards him. Servius Sulpicius accuses him, the companion of his son,—he, by whose genius all the friends of his father ought to be only the more defended. Marcus Cato accuses him, who, though he has never been in any matter whatever at variance with Murena, yet was born in this city under such circumstances that his power and genius ought to be a protection to many who were even entire strangers to him, and ought to be the ruin of hardly any personal enemy.


In the first instance then I will reply to Cnaeus Postumius,

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who, somehow or other, I know not how, while a candidate for the praetorship, appears to me to be a straggler into the course marked out for the candidates for the consulship, as the horse of a vaulter might escape into the course marked out for the chariot races. And if there is no fault whatever to be found with his competitors, then he has made a great concession to their worth in desisting from his canvass. But if any one of them has committed bribery, then he must look for some friend who will be more inclined to prosecute an injury done to another than one done to himself. [On the Charges of Postumius and of Servius.]

ch. 28


I come now to Marcus Cato, who is the mainstay and prop of the whole prosecution; who is, however, so zealous and vehement a prosecutor, that I am much more afraid of the weight of his name, than of his accusation. And with respect to this accuser, O judges, first of all I will entreat you not to let Cato's dignity, nor your expectation of his tribuneship, nor the high reputation and virtue of his whole life, be any injury to Lucius Murena. Let not all the honours of Marcus Cato, which he has acquired in order to be able to assist many men, be an injury to my client alone. Publius Africanus had been twice consul, and had destroyed those two terrors of this empire, Carthage and Numantia, when he prosecuted Lucius Cotta. He was a man of the most splendid eloquence, of the greatest good faith, of the purest integrity; his authority was as great almost as that of the Roman people itself, in that empire which had been mainly saved by his means. I have often heard old men say that this very extraordinarily high character of the accuser was of the greatest service to Lucius Cotta. Those wise men who then were the judges in that cause, did not like any one to be defeated in a trial, if he was to appear overwhelmed only by the excessive influence of his adversary.

59 What more shall I say? Did not the Roman people deliver Sergius Galba (the fact is preserved in the recollection of every one) from your grandfather, that most intrepid and prosperous man, Marcus Cato, who was zealously seeking his ruin? At all times in this city the whole people, and also the judges, wise men, looking far into futurity, have resisted the overweening power of prosecutors. I do not like an accuser bringing his personal power, or any predominant influence, or his own eminent authority, or his own excessive popularity, into a court of justice. Let all these things have weight to ensure the safety of the innocent, to aid the weak, to succour the unfortunate. But in a case where the danger and ruin of citizens may ensue, let them be rejected.

60 For if perchance any one should say that Cato would not have come forward as an accuser if he had not previously made up his mind about the justice of the cause, he will then be laying down a most unjust law, O judges, and establishing a miserable condition for men in their danger, if he thinks that the opinion of an accuser is to have against a defendant the weight of a previous investigation legally conducted.

ch. 29

I, O Cato, do not venture to find fault with your intentions, by reason of my extraordinarily high opinion of your virtue; but in some particulars I may perhaps be able slightly to amend and reform them. “You are not very wrong,” said an aged tutor to a very brave man; “but if you are wrong, I can set you right.” But I can say with the greatest truth that you never do wrong, and that your conduct is never such in any point as to need correction, but only such as occasionally to require being guided a little. For nature has herself formed you for honesty, and gravity, and moderation, and magnanimity, and justice; and for all the virtues required to make a great and noble man. To all these qualities are added an education not moderate, nor mild, but as it seems to me, a little harsh and severe, more so than either truth or nature would permit.

Cicero, pro Murena (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [Cic. Mur.].
<<Cic. Mur. 51 Cic. Mur. 57 (Latin) >>Cic. Mur. 63

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