However, these perhaps are trifling matters. I ask now, why all on a sudden he became so gentle in the senate, after having been so fierce in his edicts? For what was the object of threatening Lucius Cassius, a most fearless tribune of the people, and a most virtuous and loyal citizen, with death if he came to the Senate? of expelling Decimus Caifulenus, a man thoroughly attached to the republic, from the senate by violence and threats of death? of interdicting Titus Canutius, by whom he had been repeatedly and deservedly harassed by most legitimate attacks, not only from the temple itself but from all approach to it? What was the resolution of the senate which he was afraid that they would stop by the interposition of their veto? That, I suppose, respecting the supplication in honour of Marcus Lepidus, a most illustrious man! Certainly there was a great danger of our hindering an ordinary compliment to a man on whom we were every day thinking of conferring some extraordinary honour. However, that he might not appear to have had no reason at all for ordering the senate to meet, he was on the point of bringing forward some motion about the republic, when the news about the fourth legion came; which entirely bewildered him, and hastening to flee away, he took a division on the resolution for decreeing this supplication, though such a proceeding had never been heard of before.
X. But what a setting out was his after this! what a journey when he was in his robe as a general! How did he shun all eyes, and the light of day, and the city, and the forum! How miserable was his flight! how shameful! how infamous! Splendid, too, were the decrees of the senate passed on the evening of that very day; very religiously solemn was the allotment of the provinces; and heavenly indeed was the opportunity, when everyone got exactly what he thought most desirable. You are acting admirably, therefore, O tribunes of the people, in bringing forward a motion about the protection of the senate and consuls, and most deservedly are we all bound to feel and to prove to you the greatest gratitude for your conduct. For how can we be free from fear and danger while menaced by such covetousness and audacity? And as for that ruined and desperate man, what more hostile decision can be passed upon him than has already been passed by his own friends? His most intimate friend, a man connected with me too, Lucius Lentulus, and also Publius Naso, a man destitute of covetousness, have shown that they think that they have no provinces assigned them, and that the allotments of Antonius are invalid. Lucius Philippus, a man thoroughly worthy of his father and grandfather and ancestors, has done the same. The same is the opinion of Marcus Turanius, a man of the greatest integrity and purity of life. The same is the conduct of Publius Oppius; and those very men,—who, influenced by their friendship for Marcus Antonius, have attributed to him more power than they would perhaps really approve of,—Marcus Piso, my own connexion, a most admirable man and virtuous citizen, and Marcus Vehilius, a man of equal respectability, have both declared that they would obey the authority of the senate. Why should I speak of Lucius Cinna? whose extraordinary integrity, proved under many trying circumstances, makes the glory of his present admirable conduct less remarkable; he has altogether disregarded the province assigned to him; and so has Caius Cestius, a man of great and firm mind.
Who are there left then to be delighted with this heavensent allotment? Lucius Antonius and Marcus Antonius! O happy pair! for there is nothing that they wished for more. Caius Antonius has Macedonia. Happy, too, is he! For he was constantly talking about this province. Caius Calvisius has Africa. Nothing could be more fortunate, for he had only just departed from Africa, and, as if he had divined that he should return, he left two lieutenants at Utica. Then Marcus Iccius has Sicily, and Quintus Cassius Spain. I do not know what to suspect. I fancy the lots which assigned these two provinces, were not quite so carefully attended to by the gods.
XI. O Caius Caesar, (I am speaking of the young man,) what safety have you brought to the republic! How unforeseen has it been! how sudden! for if he did these things when flying, what would he have done when he was pursuing? In truth, he had said in a harangue that he would be the guardian of the city; and that he would keep his army at the gates of the city till the first of May. What a fine guardian (as the proverb goes) is the wolf of the sheep! Would Antonius have been a guardian of the city, or its plunderer and destroyer? And he said too that he would come into the city and go out as he pleased. What more need I say? Did he not say, in the hearing of all the people, while sitting in front of the temple of Castor, that no one should remain alive but the conqueror?
On this day, O conscript fathers, for the first time after a long interval do we plant our foot and take possession of liberty. Liberty, of which, as long as I could be, I was not only the defender, but even the saviour. But when I could not be so, I rested; and I bore the misfortunes and misery of that period without abjectness, and not without some dignity. But as for this most foul monster, who could endure him, or how could any one endure him? What is there in Antonius except lust, and cruelty, and wantonness, and audacity? Of these materials he is wholly made up. There is in him nothing ingenuous, nothing moderate, nothing modest, nothing virtuous. Wherefore, since the matter has come to such a crisis that the question is whether he is to make atonement to the republic for his crimes, or we are to become slaves, let us at last, I beseech you, by the immortal gods, O conscript fathers, adopt our fathers' courage, and our fathers' virtue, so as either to recover the liberty belonging to the Roman name and race, or else to prefer death to slavery. We have borne and endured many things which ought not to be endured in a free city, some of us out of a hope of recovering our freedom, some from too great a fondness for life. But if we have submitted to these things, which necessity and a sort of force which may seem almost to have been put on us by destiny have compelled us to endure, though, in point of fact, we have not endured them, are we also to bear with the most shameful and inhuman tyranny of this profligate robber?
XII. What will he do in his passion, if ever he has the power, who, when he is not able to show his anger against any one, has been the enemy of all good men? What will he not dare to do when victorious, who, without having gained any victory, has committed such crimes as these since the death of Caesar? has emptied his well filled house? has pillaged his gardens? has transferred to his own mansion all their ornaments? has sought to make his death a pretext for slaughter and conflagration? who, while he has carried two or three resolutions of the senate which have been advantageous to the republic, has made everything else subservient to his own acquisition of gain and plunder? who has put up exemptions and annuities to sale? who has released cities from obligations? who has removed whole provinces from subjection to the Roman empire? who has restored exiles? who has passed forged laws in the name of Caesar, and has continued to have forged decrees engraved on brass and fixed up in the Capitol, and has set up in his own house a domestic market for all things of that sort? who has imposed laws on the Roman people? and who, with armed troops and guards, has excluded both the people and the magistrates from the forum? who has filled the senate with armed men? and has introduced armed men into the temple of Concord when he was holding a senate there? who ran down to Brundusium to meet the legions, and then murdered all the centurions in them who were well affected to the republic? who endeavoured to come to Rome with his army to accomplish our massacre and the utter destruction of the city?
And he, now that he has been prevented from succeeding in this attempt by the wisdom and forces of Caesar, and the unanimity of the veterans, and the valour of the legions, even now that his fortunes are desperate, does not diminish his audacity, nor, mad that he is, does he cease proceeding in his headlong career of fury. He is leading his mutilated army into Gaul, with one legion, and that too wavering in its fidelity to him, he is waiting for his brother Lucius, as he cannot find any one more nearly like himself than him. But now what slaughter is this man, who has thus become a captain instead of a matador, a general instead of a gladiator, making, wherever he sets his foot! He destroys stores, he slays the flocks and herds, and all the cattle, wherever he finds them, his soldiers revel in their spoil, and he himself, in order to imitate his brother, drowns himself in wine. Fields are laid waste, villas are plundered, matrons, virgins, well born boys are carried off and given up to the soldiery, and Marcus Antonius has done exactly the same wherever he has led his army.
XIII. Will you open your gates to these most infamous brothers? will you ever admit them into the city? will you not rather, now that the opportunity is offered to you, now that you have generals ready, and the minds of the soldiers eager for the service, and all the Roman people unanimous, and all Italy excited with the desire to recover its liberty,—will you not, I say, avail yourself of the kindness of the immortal gods? You will never have an opportunity if you neglect this one. He will be hemmed in in the rear, in the front, and in flank, if he once enters Gaul. Nor must he be attacked by arms alone, but by our decrees also. Mighty is the authority, mighty is the name of the senate when all its members are inspired by one and the same resolution. Do you not see how the forum is crowded? how the Roman people is on tiptoe with the hope of recovering its liberty? which now, beholding us, after a long interval, meeting here in numbers, hopes too that we are also met in freedom. It was in expectation of this day that I avoided the wicked army of Marcus Antonius, at a time when he, while inveighing against me, was not aware for what an occasion I was reserving myself and my strength. If at that time I had chosen to reply to him, while he was seeking to begin the massacre with me, I should not now be able to consult the welfare of the republic. But now that I have this opportunity, I will never, O conscript fathers, neither by day nor by night, cease considering what ought to be thought concerning the liberty of the Roman people, and concerning your dignity. And whatever ought to be planned or done, I not only will never shrink from, but I will offer myself for, and beg to have entrusted to me. This is what I did before while it was in my power; when it was no longer in my power to do so, I did nothing. But now it is not only in my power, but it is absolutely necessary for me, unless we prefer being slaves to fighting with all our strength and courage to avoid being slaves. The immortal gods have given us these protectors, Caesar for the city, Brutus for Gaul. For if he had been able to oppress the city we must have become slaves at once; if he had been able to get possession of Gaul, then it would not have been long before every good man must have perished and all the rest have been enslaved.
XIV. Now then that this opportunity is afforded to you, O conscript fathers, I entreat you in the name of the immortal gods, seize upon it; and recollect at last that you are the chief men of the most honourable council on the whole face of the earth. Give a token to the Roman people that your wisdom shall not fail the republic, since that too professes that its valour shall never desert it either. There is no need for my warning you: there is no one so foolish as not to perceive that if we go to sleep over this opportunity we shall have to endure a tyranny which will be not only cruel and haughty, but also ignominious and flagitious. You know the insolence of Antonius; you know his friends; you know his whole household. To be slaves to lustful, wanton, debauched, profligate, drunken gamblers, is the extremity of misery combined with the extremity of infamy. And if now (but may the immortal gods avert the omen!) that worst of fates shall befall the republic, then, as brave gladiators take care to perish with honour, let us too, who are the chief men of all countries and nations, take care to fall with dignity rather than to live as slaves with ignominy.
There is nothing more detestable than disgrace; nothing more shameful than slavery. We have been born to glory and to liberty; let us either preserve them or die with dignity. Too long have we concealed what we have felt: now at length it is revealed: every one has plainly shown what are his feelings to both sides, and what are his inclinations. There are impious citizens, measured by the love I bear my country, too many; but in proportion to the multitude of well-affected ones, very few; and the immortal gods have given the republic an incredible opportunity and chance for destroying them. For, in addition to the defences which we already have, there will soon be added consuls of consummate prudence, and virtue, and concord, who have already deliberated and pondered for many months on the freedom of the Roman people. With these men for our advisers and leaders, with the gods assisting us, with ourselves using all vigilance and taking great precautions for the future, and with the Roman people acting with unanimity, we shall indeed be free in a short time, and the recollection of our present slavery will make liberty sweeter.
XV. Moved by these considerations, since the tribunes of the people have brought forward a motion to ensure that the senate shall be able to meet in safety on the first of January, and that we may be able to deliver our sentiments on the general welfare of the state with freedom, I give my vote that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls elect, do take care that the senate be enabled to meet in safety on the first of January; and, as an edict has been published by Decimus Brutus, imperator and consul elect, I vote that the senate thinks that Decimus Brutus, imperator and consul, deserves excellently well of the republic, inasmuch as he is upholding the authority of the senate, and the freedom and empire of the Roman people; and as he is also retaining the province of Gallia Citerior, a province full of most virtuous and brave men, and of citizens most devoted to the republic, and his army, in obedience to the senate, I vote that the senate judges that he, and his army, and the municipalities and colonies of the province of Gaul, have acted and are acting properly, and regularly, and in a manner advantageous to the republic. And the senate thinks that it will be for the general interests of the republic that the provinces which are at present occupied by Decimus Brutus and by Lucius Plancus, both imperators, and consuls elect, and also by the officers who are in command of provinces, shall continue to be held by them in accordance with the provisions of the Julian law, until each of these officers has a successor appointed by a resolution of the senate; and that they shall take care to maintain those provinces and armies in obedience to the senate and people of Rome, and as a defence to the republic. And since, by the exertions and valour and wisdom of Caius Caesar, and by the admirable unanimity of the veteran soldiers, who, obeying his authority, have been and are a protection to the republic, the Roman people has been defended, and is at this present time being defended, from the most serious dangers. And as the Martial legion has encamped at Alba, in a municipal town of the greatest loyalty and courage, and has devoted itself to the support of the authority of the senate, and of the freedom of the Roman people; and as the fourth legion, behaving with equal wisdom and with the same virtue, under the command of Lucius Egnatuleius the quaestor, an illustrious citizen, has defended and is still defending the authority of the senate and the freedom of the Roman people; I give my vote, That it is and shall be an object of anxious care to the senate to pay due honour and to show due gratitude to them for their exceeding services to the republic: and that the senate hereby orders that when Caius Pausa and Aulus Hirtius, the consuls elect, have entered on their office, they take the earliest opportunity of consulting this body on these matters, as shall seem to them expedient for the republic, and worthy of their own integrity and loyalty.
THE FOURTH ORATION OF M.T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS.
CALLED ALSO THE FOURTH PHILIPPIC.
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After delivering the preceding speech in the senate, Cicero proceeded to the forum, where he delivered the following speech to the people, to give them information of what had been done.
I. The great numbers in which you are here met this day, O Romans, and this assembly, greater than, it seems to me, I ever remember, inspires me with both an exceeding eagerness to defend the republic, and with a great hope of reestablishing it. Although my courage indeed has never failed; what has been unfavourable is the time; and the moment that that has appeared to show any dawn of light, I at once have been the leader in the defence of your liberty. And if I had attempted to have done so before, I should not be able to do so now. For this day, O Romans, (that you may not think it is but a trifling business in which we have been engaged,) the foundations have been laid for future actions. For the senate has no longer been content with styling Antonius an enemy in words, but it has shown by actions that it thinks him one. And now I am much more elated still, because you too with such great unanimity and with such a clamour have sanctioned our declaration that he is an enemy.
And indeed, O Romans, it is impossible but that either the men must be impious who have levied armies against the consul, or else that he must be an enemy against whom they have rightly taken arms. And this doubt the senate has this day removed—not indeed that there really was any; but it has prevented the possibility of there being any. Caius Caesar, who has upheld and who is still upholding the republic and your freedom by his seal and wisdom, and at the expense of his patrimonial estate, has been complimented with the highest praises of the senate. I praise you,—yes, I praise you greatly, O Romans, when you follow with the most grateful minds the name of that most illustrious youth, or rather boy; for his actions belong to immortality, the name of youth only to his age. I can recollect many things; I have heard of many things; I have read of many things; but in the whole history of the whole world I have never known anything like this. For, when we were weighed down with slavery, when the evil was daily increasing, when we had no defence, while we were in dread of the pernicious and fatal return of Marcus Antonius from Brundusium, this young man adopted the design which none of us had ventured to hope for, which beyond all question none of us were acquainted with, of raising an invincible army of his father's soldiers, and so hindering the frenzy of Antonius, spurred on as it was by the most inhuman counsels, from the power of doing mischief to the republic.
II. For who is there who does not see clearly that, if Caesar had not prepared an army, the return of Antonius must have been accompanied by our destruction? For, in truth, he returned in such a state of mind, burning with hatred of you all, stained with the blood of the Roman citizens, whom he had murdered at Suessa and at Brundusium, that he thought of nothing but the utter destruction of the republic. And what protection could have been found for your safety and for your liberty if the army of Caius Caesar had not been composed of the bravest of his father's soldiers? And with respect to his praises and honours,—and he is entitled to divine and everlasting honours for his godlike and undying services,—the senate has just consented to my proposals, and has decreed that a motion be submitted to it at the very earliest opportunity.
Now who is there who does not see that by this decree Antonius has been adjudged to be an enemy? For what else can we call him, when the senate decides that extraordinary honours are to be devised for those men who are leading armies against him? What? did not the Martial legion (which appears to me by some divine permission to have derived its name from that god from whom we have heard that the Roman people descended) decide by its resolutions that Antonius was an enemy before the senate had come to any resolution? For if he be not an enemy, we must inevitably decide that those men who have deserted the consul are enemies. Admirably and seasonably, O Romans, have you by your cries sanctioned the noble conduct of the men of the Martial legion, who have come over to the authority of the senate, to your liberty, and to the whole republic; and have abandoned that enemy and robber and parricide of his country. Nor did they display only their spirit and courage in doing this, but their caution and wisdom also. They encamped at Alba, in a city convenient, fortified, near, full of brave men and loyal and virtuous citizens. The fourth legion imitating the virtue of this Martial legion, under the leadership of Lucius Egnatuleius, whom the senate deservedly praised a little while ago, has also joined the army of Caius Caesar.
III. What more adverse decisions, O Marcus Antonius, can you want? Caesar, who has levied an army against you, is extolled to the skies. The legions are praised in the most complimentary language, which have abandoned you, which were sent for into Italy by you; and which, if you had chosen to be a consul rather than an enemy, were wholly devoted to you. And the fearless and honest decision of those legions is confirmed by the senate, is approved of by the whole Roman people,—unless, indeed, you to-day, O Romans, decide that Antonius is a consul and not an enemy. I thought, O Romans, that you did think as you show you do. What? do you suppose that the municipal towns, and the colonies, and the prefectures have any other opinion? All men are agreed with one mind; so that every one who wishes the state to be saved must take up every sort of arms against that pestilence. What? does, I should like to know, does the opinion of Decimus Brutus, O Romans, which you can gather from his edict, which has this day reached us, appear to any one deserving of being lightly esteemed? Rightly and truly do you say No, O Romans. For the family and name of Brutus has been by some especial kindness and liberality of the immortal gods given to the republic, for the purpose of at one time establishing, and at another of recovering, the liberty of the Roman people. What then has been the opinion which Decimus Brutus has formed of Marcus Antonius? He excludes him from his province. He opposes him with his army. He rouses all Gaul to war, which is already used of its own accord, and in consequence of the judgment which it has itself formed. If Antonius be consul, Brutus is an enemy. Can we then doubt which of these alternatives is the fact?
IV. And just as you now with one mind and one voice affirm that you entertain no doubt, so did the senate just now decree that Decimus Brutus deserved excellently well of the republic, inasmuch as he was defending the authority of the senate and the liberty and empire of the Roman people. Defending it against whom? Why, against an enemy. For what other sort of defence deserves praise? In the next place the province of Gaul is praised, and is deservedly complimented in most honourable language by the senate for resisting Antonius. But if that province considered him the consul, and still refused to receive him, it would be guilty of great wickedness. For all the provinces belong to the consul of right, and are bound to obey him. Decimus Brutus, imperator and consul elect, a citizen born for the republic, denies that he is consul; Gaul denies it; all Italy denies it; the senate denies it; you deny it. Who then think that he is consul except a few robbers? Although even they themselves do not believe what they say; nor is it possible that they should differ from the judgment of all men, impious and desperate men though they be. But the hope of plunder and booty blinds their minds; men whom no gifts of money, no allotment of land, nor even that interminable auction has satisfied; who have proposed to themselves the city, the properties and fortunes of all the citizens as their booty; and who, as long as there is something for them to seize and carry off, think that nothing will be wanting to them; among whom Marcus Antonius (O ye immortal gods, avert, I pray you, and efface this omen,) has promised to divide this city. May things rather happen, O Romans, as you pray that they should, and may the chastisement of this frenzy fall on him and on his friend. And, indeed, I feel sure that it will be so. For I think that at present not only men but the immortal gods have all united together to preserve this republic. For if the immortal gods foreshow us the future, by means of portents and prodigies, then it has been openly revealed to us that punishment is near at hand to him, and liberty to us. Or if it was impossible for such unanimity on the part of all men to exist without the inspiration of the gods, in either case how can we doubt as to the inclinations of the heavenly deities? It only remains, O Romans, for you to persevere in the sentiments which you at present display.
V. I will act, therefore, as commanders are in the habit of doing when their army is ready for battle, who, although they see their soldiers ready to engage, still address an exhortation to them; and in like manner I will exhort you who are already eager and burning to recover your liberty. You have not—you have not, indeed, O Romans, to war against an enemy with whom it is possible to make peace on any terms whatever. For he does not now desire your slavery, as he did before, but he is angry now and thirsts for your blood. No sport appears more delightful to him than bloodshed, and slaughter, and the massacre of citizens before his eyes. You have not, O Romans, to deal with a wicked and profligate man, but with an unnatural and savage beast. And, since he has fallen into a well, let him be buried in it. For if he escapes out of it, there will be no inhumanity of torture which it will be possible to avoid. But he is at present hemmed in, pressed, and besieged by those troops which we already have, and will soon be still more so by those which in a few days the new consuls will levy. Apply yourselves then to this business, as you are doing. Never have you shown greater unanimity in any cause; never have you been so cordially united with the senate. And no wonder. For the question now is not in what condition we are to live, but whether we are to live at all, or to perish with torture and ignominy.
Although nature, indeed, has appointed death for all men: but valour is accustomed to ward off any cruelty or disgrace in death. And that is an inalienable possession of the Roman race and name. Preserve, I beseech you, O Romans, this attribute which your ancestors have left you as a sort of inheritance. Although all other things are uncertain, fleeting, transitory; virtue alone is planted firm with very deep roots; it cannot be undermined by any violence; it can never be moved from its position. By it your ancestors first subdued the whole of Italy; then destroyed Carthage, overthrew Numantia, and reduced the most mighty kings and most warlike nations under the dominion of this empire.
VI. And your ancestors, O Romans, had to deal with an enemy who had also a republic, a senate-house, a treasury, harmonious and united citizens, and with whom, if fortune had so willed it, there might have been peace and treaties on settled principles. But this enemy of yours is attacking your republic, but has none himself; is eager to destroy the senate, that is to say, the council of the whole world, but has no public council himself; he has exhausted your treasury, and has none of his own. For how can a man be supported by the unanimity of his citizens, who has no city at all? And what principles of peace can there be with that man who is full of incredible cruelty, and destitute of faith?
The whole then of the contest, O Romans, which is now before the Roman people, the conqueror of all nations, is with an assassin, a robber, a Spartacus. For as to his habitual boast of being like Catilina, he is equal to him in wickedness, but inferior in energy. He, though he had no army, rapidly levied one. This man has lost that very army which he had. As, therefore, by my diligence, and the authority of the senate, and your own zeal and valour, you crushed Catilina, so you will very soon hear that this infamous piratical enterprise of Antonius has been put down by your own perfect and unexampled harmony with the senate, and by the good fortune and valour of your armies and generals. I, for my part, as far as I am able to labour, and to effect anything by my care, and exertions, and vigilance, and authority, and counsel, will omit nothing which I may think serviceable to your liberty. Nor could I omit it without wickedness after all your most ample and honourable kindness to me. However, on this day, encouraged by the motion of a most gallant man, and one most firmly attached to you, Marcus Servilius, whom you see before you, and his colleagues also, most distinguished men, and most virtuous citizens; and partly, too, by my advice and my example, we have, for the first time after a long interval, fired up again with a hope of liberty.
THE FIFTH ORATION OF M.T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS.
OTHERWISE CALLED THE FIFTH PHILIPPIC.
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The new consuls Hirtius and Pansa were much attached to Cicero, had consulted him a great deal, and professed great respect for his opinion; but they were also under great obligations to Julius Caesar and, consequently, connected to some extent with his party and with Antonius, on which account they wished, if possible, to employ moderate measures only against him.
As soon as they had entered on their office, they convoked the senate to meet for the purpose of deliberating on the general welfare of the republic. They both spoke themselves with great firmness, promising to be the leaders in defending the liberties of Rome, and exhorting the senate to act with courage. And then they called on Quintus Fufius Calenus, who had been consul A.U.C. 707, and who was Pansa's father-in-law, to deliver his opinion first. He was known to be a firm friend of Antonius. Cicero wished to declare Antonius a public enemy at once, but Calenus proposed that before they proceeded to acts of open hostility against him, they should send an embassy to him to admonish him to desist from his attempts upon Gaul, and to submit to the authority of the senate. Piso and others supported this motion, on the ground that it was cruel and unjust to condemn a man without giving him a fair chance of submitting, and without hearing what he had to say. It was in opposition to Calenus's motion that Cicero made the following speech, substituting for his proposition one to declare Antonius an enemy, and to offer pardon to those of his army who returned to their duty by the first of February, to thank Decimus Brutus for his conduct in Gaul, to decree a statue to Marcus Lepidus for his services to the republic and his loyalty, to thank Caius Caesar (Octavius) and to grant him a special commission as general, to make him a senator and propraetor and to enable him to stand for any subsequent magistracy as if he had been quaestor, to thank Lucius Egnatuleius, and to vote thanks and promise rewards to the Martial and the fourth legion.
I. Nothing, O conscript fathers, has ever seemed to me longer than these calends of January, and I think that for the last few days you have all been feeling the same thing. For those who are waging war against the republic have not waited for this day. But we, while it would have been most especially proper for us to come to the aid of the general safety with our counsel, were not summoned to the senate. However, the speech just addressed to us by the consuls has removed our complaints as to what is past, for they have spoken in such a manner that the calends of January seem to have been long wished for rather than really to have arrived late.
And while the speeches of the consuls have encouraged my mind, and have given me a hope, not only of preserving our safety, but even of recovering our former dignity, on the other hand, the opinion of the man who has been asked for his opinion first would have disturbed me, if I had not confidence in your virtue and firmness. For this day, O conscript fathers, has dawned upon you, and this opportunity has been afforded you of proving to the Roman people how much virtue, how much firmness and how much dignity exists in the counsels of this order. Recollect what a day it was thirteen days ago, how great was then your unanimity, and virtue, and firmness, and what great praise, what great glory, and what great gratitude you gained from the Roman people. And on that day, O conscript fathers, you resolved that no other alternative was in your power, except either an honourable peace, or a necessary war.
Is Marcus Antonius desirous of peace? Let him lay down his arms, let him implore our pardon, let him deprecate our vengeance; he will find no one more reasonable than me, though, while seeking to recommend himself to impious citizens, he has chosen to be an enemy instead of a friend to me. There is, in truth, nothing which can be given to him while waging war, there will perhaps be something which may be granted to him if he comes before us as a suppliant.
II. But to send ambassadors to a man respecting whom you passed a most dignified and severe decision only thirteen days ago, is not an act of lenity, but, if I am to speak my real opinion, of downright madness. In the first place, you praised those generals who, of their own head, had undertaken war against him, in the next place, you praised the veterans who, though they had been settled in those colonies by Antonius, preferred the liberty of the Roman people to the obligations which they were under to him. Is it not so? Why was the Martial legion? why was the fourth legion praised? For if they have deserted the consul, they ought to be blamed; if they have abandoned an enemy to the republic, then they are deservedly praised.
But as at that time you had not yet got any consuls, you passed a decree that a motion concerning the rewards for the soldiers and the honours to be conferred on the generals should be submitted to you at the earliest opportunity. Are you then going now to arrange rewards for those men who have taken arms against Antonius, and to send ambassadors to Antonius? so as to deserve to be ashamed that the legions should have come to more honourable resolutions than the senate if, indeed, the legions have resolved to defend the senate against Antonius, but the senate decrees to send ambassadors to Antonius. Is this encouraging the spirit of the soldiers, or damping their virtue?
This is what we have gained in the last twelve days, that the man whom no single person except Cotyla was then found to defend, has now advocates even of consular rank. Would that they had all been asked their opinion before me, (although I have my suspicions as to what some of those men who will be asked after me, are intending to say) I should find it easier to speak against them if any argument appeared to have been advanced.
For there is an opinion in some quarters that some one intends to propose to decree Antonius that further Gaul, which Plancus is at present in possession of. What else is that but supplying an enemy with all the arms necessary for civil war; first of all with the sinews of war, money in abundance, of which he is at present destitute, and secondly, with as much cavalry as he pleases? Cavalry do I say? He is a likely man to hesitate, I suppose, to bring with him the barbarian nations,—a man who does not see this is senseless, he who does see it, and still advocates such a measure, is impious. Will you furnish a wicked and desperate citizen with an army of Gauls and Germans, with money, and infantry, and cavalry, and all sorts of resources? All these excuses are no excuse at all.—"He is a friend of mine." Let him first be a friend of his country.—"He is a relation of mine." Can any relationship be nearer than that of one's country, in which even one's parents are comprised? "He has given me money:"—I should like to see the man who will dare to say that. But when I have explained what is the real object aimed at, it will be easy for you to decide which opinion you ought to agree with and adopt.
III. The matter at issue is, whether power is to be given to Marcus Antonius of oppressing the republic, of massacring the virtuous citizens, of plundering the city, of distributing the lands among his robbers, of overwhelming the Roman people in slavery; or, whether he is not to be allowed to do all this. Do you doubt what you are to do? "Oh, but all this does not apply to Antonius." Even Cotyla would not venture to say that. For what does not apply to him? A man who, while he says that he is defending the acts of another, perverts all those laws of his which we might most properly praise. Caesar wished to drain the marshes: this man has given all Italy to that moderate man Lucius Antonius to distribute.—What? has the Roman people adopted this law?—What? could it be passed with a proper regard for the auspices? But this conscientious augur acts in reference to the auspices without his colleagues. Although those auspices do not require any interpretation;—for who is there who is ignorant that it is impious to submit any motion to the people while it is thundering? The tribunes of the people carried laws respecting the provinces in opposition to the acts of Caesar; Caesar had extended the provisions of his law over two years; Antonius over six years. Has then the Roman people adopted this law? What? was it ever regularly promulgated? What? was it not passed before it was even drawn up? Did we not see the deed done before we even suspected that it was going to be done? Where is the Caecilian and Didian law? What is become of the law that such bills should be published on three market days? What is become of the penalty appointed by the recent Junian and Licinian law? Can these laws be ratified without the destruction of all other laws? Has any one had a right of entering the forum? Moreover, what thunder, and what a storm that was! so that even if the consideration of the auspices had no weight with Marcus Antonius, it would seem strange that he could endure and bear such exceeding violence of tempest, and rain, and whirlwind. When therefore he, as augur, says that he carried a law while Jupiter was not only thundering, but almost uttering an express prohibition of it by his clamour from heaven, will he hesitate to confess that it was carried in violation of the auspices? What? does the virtuous augur think that it has nothing to do with the auspices, that he carried the law with the aid of that colleague whose election he himself vitiated by giving notice of the auspices?
IV. But perhaps we, who are his colleagues, may be the interpreters of the auspices? Do we also want interpreters of arms? In the first place, all the approaches to the forum were so fenced round, that even if no armed men were standing in the way, still it would have been impossible to enter the forum except by tearing down the barricades. But the guards were arranged in such a manner, that, as the access of an enemy to a city is prevented, so you might in this instance see the burgesses and the tribunes of the people cut off by forts and works from all entrance to the forum. On which account I give my vote that those laws which Marcus Antonius is said to have carried were all carried by violence, and in violation of the auspices; and that the people is not bound by them. If Marcus Antonius is said to have carried any law about confirming the acts of Caesar and abolishing the dictatorship for ever, and of leading colonies into any lands, then I vote that those laws be passed over again, with a due regard to the auspices, so that they may bind the people. For although they may be good measures which he passed irregularly and by violence, still they are not to be accounted laws, and the whole audacity of this frantic gladiator must be repudiated by our authority. But that squandering of the public money cannot possibly be endured by which he got rid of seven hundred millions of sesterces by forged entries and deeds of gifts, so that it seems an absolute miracle that so vast a sum of money belonging to the Roman people can have disappeared in so short a time. What? are those enormous profits to be endured which the household of Marcus Antonius has swallowed up? He was continually selling forged decrees; ordering the names of kingdoms and states, and grants of exemptions to be engraved on brass, having received bribes for such orders. And his statement always was, that he was doing these things in obedience to the memoranda of Caesar, of which he himself was the author. In the interior of his house there was going on a brisk market of the whole republic. His wife, more fortunate for herself than for her husband, was holding an auction of kingdoms and provinces: exiles were restored without any law, as if by law: and unless all these acts are rescinded by the authority of the senate, now that we have again arrived at a hope of recovering the republic, there will be no likeness of a free city left to us.
Nor is it only by the sale of forged memoranda and autographs that a countless sum of money was collected together in that house, while Antonius, whatever he sold, said that he was acting in obedience to the papers of Caesar; but he even took bribes to make false entries of the resolutions of the senate; to seal forged contracts; and resolutions of the senate that had never been passed were entered on the records of that treasury. Of all this baseness even foreign nations were witnesses. In the meantime treaties were made; kingdoms given away; nations and provinces released from the burdens of the state; and false memorials of all these transactions were fixed up all over the Capitol, amid the groans of the Roman people. And by all these proceedings so vast a sum of money was collected in one house, that if it were all made available, the Roman people would never want money again.
V. Moreover, he passed a law to regulate judicial proceedings, this chaste and upright man, this upholder of the tribunals and the law. And in this he deceived us. He used to say that he appointed men from the front ranks of the army, common soldiers, men of the Alauda, as judges. But he has in reality selected gamesters; he has selected exiles; he has selected Greeks. Oh the fine bench of judges! Oh the admirable dignity of that council! I do long to plead in behalf of some defendant before that tribunal—Cyda of Crete; a prodigy even in that island; the most audacious and abandoned of men. But even suppose he were not so. Does he understand Latin? Is he qualified by birth and station to be a judge? Does he—which is most important—does he know anything about our laws and manners? Is he even acquainted with any of the citizens? Why, Crete is better known to you than Rome is to Cyda. In fact, the selection and appointment of the judges has usually been confined to our own citizens. But who ever knew, or could possibly have known this Gortynian judge? For Lysiades, the Athenian, we most of us do know. For he is the son of Phaedrus, an eminent philosopher. And, besides, he is a witty man, so that he will be able to get on very well with Marcus Curius, who will be one of his colleagues, and with whom he is in the habit of playing. I ask if Lysiades, when summoned as a judge, should not answer to his name, and should have an excuse alleged for him that he is an Areopagite, and that he is not bound to act as a judge at both Rome and Athens at the same time, will the man who presides over the investigation admit the excuse of this Greekling judge, at one time a Greek, and at another a Roman? Or will he disregard the most ancient laws of the Athenians?
And what a bench will it be, O ye good gods! A Cretan judge, and he the most worthless of men. Whom can a defendant employ to propitiate him? How is he to get at him? He comes of a hard nation. But the Athenians are merciful. I dare say that Curius, too, is not cruel, inasmuch as he is a man who is himself at the mercy of fortune every day. There are besides other chosen judges who will perhaps be excused. For they have a legitimate excuse, that they have left their country in banishment, and that they have not been restored since. And would that madman have chosen these men as judges, would he have entered their names as such in the treasury, would he have trusted a great portion of the republic to them, if he had intended to leave the least semblance of a republic?
VI. And I have been speaking of those judges who are known. Those whom you are less acquainted with I have been unwilling to name. Know then that dancers, harp-players, the whole troop, in fact, of Antonius's revellers, have all been pitchforked into the third decury of judges. Now you see the object of passing so splendid and admirable a law, amid excessive rain, storm, wind, tempest, and whirlwind, amid thunder and lightning; it was that we might have those men for our judges whom no one would like to have for guests. It is the enormity of his wickedness, the consciousness of his crimes, the plunder of that money of which the account was kept in the temple of Ops, which have been the real inventors of this third decury. And infamous judges were not sought for, till all hope of safety for the guilty was despaired of, if they came before respectable ones. But what must have been the impudence, what must have been the iniquity of a man who dared to select those men as judges, by the selection of whom a double disgrace was stamped on the republic: one, because the judges were so infamous; the other, because by this step it was revealed and published to the world how many infamous citizens we had in the republic? These then, and all other similar laws, I should vote ought to be annulled, even if they had been passed without violence, and with all proper respect for the auspices. But now why need I vote that they ought to be annulled, when I do not consider that they were ever legally passed?
Is not this, too, to be marked with the deepest ignominy, and with the severest animadversion of this order, so as to be recollected by all posterity, that Marcus Antonius (the first man who has ever done so since the foundation of the city) has openly taken armed men about with him in this city? A thing which the kings never did, nor those men who, since the kings have been banished, have endeavoured to seize on kingly power. I can recollect Cinna; I have seen Sylla; and lately Caesar. For these three men are the only ones since the city was delivered by Lucius Brutus, who have had more power than the entire republic. I cannot assert that no man in their trains had weapons. This I do say, that they had not many, and that they concealed them. But this pest was attended by an army of armed men. Classitius, Mustela, and Tiro, openly displaying their swords, led troops of fellows like themselves through the forum. Barbarian archers occupied their regular place in the army. And when they arrived at the temple of Concord, the steps were crowded, the litters full of shields were arranged; not because he wished the shields to be concealed, but that his friends might not be fatigued by carrying the shields themselves.
VII. And what was most infamous not only to see, but even to hear of, armed men, robbers, assassins were stationed in the temple of Concord; the temple was turned into a prison; the doors of the temple were closed, and the conscript fathers delivered their opinions while robbers were standing among the benches of the senators. And if I did not come to a senate-house in this state, he, on the first of September, said that he would send carpenters and pull down my house. It was an important affair, I suppose, that was to be discussed. He made some motion about a supplication. I attended the day after. He himself did not come. I delivered my opinion about the republic, not indeed with quite so much freedom as usual, but still with more than the threats of personal danger to myself made perhaps advisable. But that violent and furious man (for Lucius Piso had done the same thing with great credit thirty days before) threatened me with his enmity, and ordered me to attend the senate on the nineteenth of September. In the meantime he spent the whole of the intervening seventeen days in the villa of Scipio, at Tibur, declaiming against me to make himself thirsty. For this is his usual object in declaiming. When the day arrived on which he had ordered me to attend, then he came with a regular army in battle array to the temple of Concord, and out of his impure mouth vomited forth an oration against me in my absence. On which day, if my friends had not prevented me from attending the senate as I was anxious to do, he would have begun a massacre by the slaughter of me. For that was what he had resolved to do. And when once he had dyed his sword in blood, nothing would have made him leave off but pure fatigue and satiety. In truth, his brother, Lucius Antonius, was present, an Asiatic gladiator, who had fought as a Mirmillo, at Mylasa; he was thirsting for my blood, and had shed much of his own in that gladiatorial combat. He was now valuing our property in his mind, taking notice of our possessions in the city and in the country; his indigence united with his covetousness was threatening all our fortunes; he was distributing our lands to whomsoever and in whatever shares he pleased; no private individual could get access to him, or find any means to propitiate him, and induce him to act with justice. Every former proprietor had just so much property as Antonius left him after the division of his estate. And although all these proceedings cannot be ratified, if you annul his laws, still I think that they ought all to be separately taken note of, article by article; and that we ought formally to decide that the appointment of septemvirs was null and void; and that nothing is ratified which is said to have been done by them.
VIII. But who is there who can consider Marcus Antonius a citizen, rather than a most foul and barbarous enemy, who, while sitting in front of the temple of Castor, in the hearing of the Roman people, said that no one should survive except those who were victorious? Do you suppose, O conscript fathers, that he spoke with more violence than he would act? And what are we to think of his having ventured to say that, after he had given up his magistracy, he should still be at the city with his army? that he should enter the city as often as he pleased? What else was this but threatening the Roman people with slavery? And what was the object of his journey to Brundusium? and of that great haste? What was his hope, except to lead that vast army to the city, or rather into the city? What a proceeding was that selection of the centurions! What unbridled fury of an intemperate mind! For when those gallant legions had raised an outcry against his promises, he ordered those centurions to come to him to his house, whom he perceived to be loyally attached to the republic, and then he had them all murdered before his own eyes and those of his wife, whom this noble commander had taken with him to the army. What disposition do you suppose that this man will display towards us whom he hates, when he was so cruel to those men whom he had never seen? And how covetous will he be with respect to the money of rich men, when he thirsted for even the blood of poor men? whose property, such as it was, he immediately divided among his satellites and boon companions.
And he in a fury was now moving his hostile standards against his country from Brundusium, when Caius Caesar, by the kind inspiration of the immortal gods, by the greatness of his own heavenly courage, and wisdom, and genius, of his own accord, indeed, and prompted by his own admirable virtue, but still with the approbation of my authority, went down to the colonies which had been founded by his father; convoked the veteran soldiery; in a few days raised an army; and checked the furious advance of this bandit. But after the Martial legion saw this admirable leader, it had no other thoughts but those of securing our liberty. And the fourth legion followed its example.
IX. And Antonius, on hearing of this news, after he had summoned the senate, and provided a man of consular rank to declare his opinion that Caius Caesar was an enemy of his country, immediately fainted away. And afterwards, without either performing the usual sacrifices, or offering the customary vows, he, I will not say went forth, but took to flight in his robe as a general. But which way did he flee? To the province of our most resolute and bravest citizens; men who could never have endured him if he had not come bringing war in his train, an intemperate, passionate, insolent, proud man, always making demands, always plundering, always drunk. But he, whose worthlessness even when quiet was more than any one could endure, has declared war upon the province of Gaul; he is besieging Mutina, a valiant and splendid colony of the Roman people; he is blockading Decimus Brutus, the general, the consul elect, a citizen born not for himself, but for us and the republic. Was then Hannibal an enemy, and is Antonius a citizen? What did the one do like an enemy, that the other has not done, or is not doing, or planning, and thinking of? What was there in the whole of the journey of the Antonii; except depopulation, devastation, slaughter, and rapine? Actions which Hannibal never did, because he was reserving many things for his own use, these men do, as men who live merely for the present hour; they never have given a thought not only to the fortunes and welfare of the citizens, but not even to their own advantage.
Are we then, O ye good gods, to resolve to send ambassadors to this man? Are those men who propose this acquainted with the constitution of the republic, with the laws of war, with the precedents of our ancestors? Do they give a thought to what the majesty of the Roman people and the severity of the senate requires? Do you resolve to send ambassadors? If to beg his mercy, he will despise you; if to declare your commands he will not listen to them; and last of all, however severe the message may be which we give the ambassadors, the very name of ambassadors will extinguish this ardour of the Roman people which we see at present, and break the spirit of the municipal towns and of Italy. To say nothing of these arguments, though they are weighty, at all events that sending of an embassy will cause delay and slowness to the war. Although those who propose it should say, as I hear that some intend to say,—"Let the ambassadors go, but let war be prepared for all the same." Still the very name of ambassadors will damp men's courage, and delay the rapidity of the war.
X. The most important events, O conscript fathers, are often determined by very trivial moving influences in every circumstance that can happen in the republic, and also in war, and especially in civil war, which is usually governed a great deal by men's opinions and by reports. No one will ask what is the commission with which we have sent the ambassadors; the mere name of an embassy, and that sent by us of our own accord, will appear an indication of fear. Let him depart from Mutina; let him cease to attack Brutus; let him retire from Gaul. He must not be begged in words to do so; he must be compelled by arms. For we are not sending to Hannibal to desire him to retire from before Saguntum; to whom the senate formerly sent Publius Valerius Flaccus and Quintus Baebius Tampilus; who, if Hannibal did not comply, were ordered to proceed to Carthage. Whither do we order our ambassadors to proceed, if Antonius does not comply? Are we sending an embassy to our own citizen, to beg him not to attack a general and a colony of the Roman people? Is it so? Is it becoming to us to beg this by means of ambassadors? What is the difference, in the name of the immortal gods, whether he attacks this city itself, or whether he attacks an outpost of this city, a colony of the Roman people, established for the sake of its being a bulwark and protection to us? The siege of Saguntum was the cause of the second Punic war, which Hannibal carried on against our ancestors. It was quite right to send ambassadors to him. They were sent to a Carthaginian, they were sent on behalf of those who were the enemies of Hannibal, and our allies. What is there resembling that case here? We are sending to one of our own citizens to beg him not to blockade a general of the Roman army, not to attack our army and our colony,—in short, not to be an enemy of ours. Come; suppose he obeys, shall we either be inclined, or shall we be able by any possibility, to treat him as one of our citizens?
XI. On the nineteenth of December, you overwhelmed him with your decrees; you ordained that this motion should be submitted to you on the first of January, which you see is submitted now, respecting the honours and rewards to be conferred on those who have deserved or do deserve well of the republic. And the chief of those men you have adjudged to be the man who really has done so, Caius Caesar, who had diverted the nefarious attacks of Marcus Antonius against this city, and compelled him to direct them against Gaul; and next to him you consider the veteran soldiers who first followed Caesar; then those excellent and heavenly-minded legions the Martial and the fourth, to whom you have promised honours and rewards, for having not only abandoned their consul, but for having even declared war against him. And on the same day, having a decree brought before you and published on purpose, you praised the conduct of Decimus Brutus, a most excellent citizen, and sanctioned with your public authority this war which he had undertaken of his own head.
What else, then, did you do on that day except pronounce Antonius a public enemy? After these decrees of yours, will it be possible for him to look upon you with equanimity, or for you to behold him without the most excessive indignation? He has been excluded and cut off and wholly separated from the republic, not merely by his own wickedness, as it seems to me, but by some especial good fortune of the republic. And if he should comply with the demands of the ambassadors and return to Rome, do you suppose that abandoned citizens will ever be in need of a standard around which to rally? But this is not what I am so much afraid of. There are other things which I am more apprehensive of and more alarmed at. He never will comply with the demands of the ambassadors. I know the man's insanity and arrogance; I know the desperate counsels of his friends, to which he is wholly given up. Lucius his brother, as being a man who has fought abroad, leads on his household. Even suppose him to be in his senses himself, which he never will be; still he will not be allowed by these men to act as if he were so. In the mean time, time will be wasted. The preparations for war will cool. How is it that the war has been protracted as long as this, if it be not by procrastination and delay?
From the very first moment after the departure, or rather after the hopeless flight of that bandit, that the senate could have met in freedom, I have always been demanding that we should be called together. The first day that we were called together, when the consuls elect were not present, I laid, in my opinion, amid the greatest unanimity on your part, the foundations of the republic, later, indeed, than they should have been laid, for I could not do so before, but still if no time had been lost after that day, we should have no war at all now. Every evil is easily crushed at its birth, when it has become of long standing, it usually gets stronger. But then everybody was waiting for the first of January, perhaps not very wisely.
XII However, let us say no more of what is past. Are we still to allow any further delay while the ambassadors are on their road to him? and while they are coming back again? and the time spent in waiting for them will make men doubt about the war. And while the fact of the war is in doubt, how can men possibly be zealous about the levies for the army?
Wherefore, O conscript fathers, I give my vote that there should be no mention made of ambassadors I think that the business that is to be done must be done without any delay, and instantly. I say that it is necessary that we should decree that there is sedition abroad, that we should suspend the regular courts of justice, order all men to wear the garb of war, and enlist men in all quarters, suspending all exemptions from military service in the city and in all Italy, except in Gaul. And if this be done, the general opinion and report of your severity will overwhelm the insanity of that wicked gladiator. He will feel that he has undertaken a war against the republic, he will experience the sinews and vigour of a unanimous senate For at present he is constantly saying that it is a mere struggle between parties. Between what parties? One party is defeated, the other is the heart of Caius Caesar's party. Unless, indeed, we believe that the party of Caesar is attacked by Pansa and Hirtius the consuls, and by Caius Caesar's son. But this war has been kindled, not by a struggle between parties, but by the nefarious hopes of the most abandoned citizens, by whom all our estates and properties have been marked down, and already distributed according as every one has thought them desirable.
I have read the letter of Antonius which he sent to one of the septemviri, a thoroughpaced scoundrel, a colleague of his own, "Look out, and see what you take a fancy to, what you do fancy you shall certainly have". See to what a man we are sending ambassadors, against what a man we are delaying to make war, a man who does not even let us draw lots for our fortunes, but hands us over to each man's caprice in such a way, that he has not left even himself anything untouched, or which has not been promised to somebody. With this man, O conscript fathers, we must wage war,—war, I say, and that instantly. We must reject the slow proceedings of ambassadors.
Therefore, that we may not have a number of decrees to pass every day, I give my vote that the whole republic should be committed to the consuls, and that they should have a charge given them to defend the republic, and to take care "that the republic suffer no injury." And I give my vote that those men who are in the army of Antonius be not visited with blame, if they leave him before the first of February.
If you adopt these proposals of mine, O conscript fathers, you will in a short time recover the liberty of the Roman people and our own authority. But if you act with more mildness, still you will pass those resolutions, but perhaps you will pass them too late. As to the general welfare of the republic, on which you, O consuls, have consulted us, I think that I have proposed what is sufficient.
XIII. The next question is about honours. And to this point I perceive that I must speak next. But I will preserve the same order in paying respect to brave men, that is usually preserved in asking their opinions.
Let us, therefore, according to the usages of our ancestors, begin with Brutus, the consul elect, and, to say nothing of his former conduct,—which has indeed been most admirable, but still such as has been praised by the individual judgments of men, rather than by public authority,—what words can we find adequate to his praise at this very time? For such great virtue requires no reward except this one of praise and glory; and even if it were not to receive that, still it would be content with itself, and would rejoice at being laid up in the recollection of grateful citizens, as if it were placed in the full light. The praise then of our deliberate opinion, and of our testimony in his favour, must be given to Brutus. Therefore, O conscript fathers, I give my vote that a resolution of the senate be passed in these words:
"As Decimus Brutus, imperator, consul elect is maintaining the province of Gaul in obedience to the senate and people of Rome, and as he has enlisted and collected in so short a time a very numerous army, being aided by the admirable zeal of the municipal towns and colonies of the province of Gaul, which has deserved and still does deserve admirably well of the republic, he has acted rightly and virtuously, and greatly for the advantage of the republic. And that most excellent service done by Decimus Brutus to the republic, is and always will be grateful to the senate and people of Rome. Therefore, the senate and the Roman people is of opinion that the exertions, and prudence, and virtue of Decimus Brutus, imperator and consul elect, and the incredible zeal and unanimity of the province of Gaul, have been a great assistance to the republic, at a most critical time."
What honour, O conscript fathers, can be too great to be due to such a mighty service as this of Brutus, and to such important aid as he has afforded the republic? For if Gaul had been open to Marcus Antonius—if after having overwhelmed the municipal towns and colonies unprepared to resist him, he had been able to penetrate into that further Gaul—what great danger would have hung over the republic! That most insane of men, that man so headlong and furious in all his courses, would have been likely, I suppose, to hesitate at waging war against us, not only with his own army, but with all the savage troops of barbarism, so that even the wall of the Alps would not have enabled us to check his frenzy. These thanks then will be deservedly paid to Decimus Brutus, who, before any authority of yours had been interposed, acting on his own judgment and responsibility, refused to receive him as consul, but repelled him from Gaul as an enemy, and preferred to be besieged himself rather than to allow this city to be so. Let him therefore have, by your decree, an everlasting testimony to this most important and glorious action, and let Gaul, which always is and has been a protection to this empire and to the general liberty, be deservedly and truly praised for not having surrendered herself and her power to Antonius, but for having opposed him with them.
XIV. And, furthermore, I give my vote that the most ample honours be decreed to Marcus Lepidus, as a reward for his eminent services to the republic. He has at all times wished the Roman people to be free, and he gave the greatest proof of his inclination and opinion on that day, when, while Antonius was placing the diadem on Caesar's head, he turned his face away, and by his groans and sorrow showed plainly what a hatred of slavery he had, how desirous he was for the Roman people to be free, and how he had endured those things which he had endured more because of the necessity of the times, than because they harmonised with his sentiments. And who of us can forget with what great moderation he behaved during that crisis of the city which ensued after the death of Caesar? These are great merits, but I hasten to speak of greater still. For, (O ye immortal gods!) what could happen more to be admired by foreign nations or more to be desired by the Roman people, than, at a time when there was a most important civil war, the result of which we were all dreading, that it should be extinguished by prudence rather than that arms and violence should be able to put everything to the hazard of a battle? And if Caesar had been guided by the same principles in that odious and miserable war, we should have—to say nothing of their father—the two sons of Cnaeus Pompeius, that most illustrious and virtuous man, safe among us, men whose piety and filial affection certainly ought not to have been their ruin. Would that Marcus Lepidus had been able to save them all! He showed that he would have done so, by his conduct in cases where he had the power, when he restored Sextus Pompeius to the state, a great ornament to the republic, and a most illustrious monument of his clemency. Sad was that picture, melancholy was the destiny then of the Roman people. For after Pompeius the father was dead, he who was the light of the Roman people, the son too, who was wholly like his father, was also slain. But all these calamities appear to me to have been effaced by the kindness of the immortal gods, Sextus Pompeius being preserved to the republic.
XV. For which cause, reasonable and important as it is and because Marcus Lepidus, by his humanity and wisdom, has changed a most dangerous and extensive civil war into peace and concord, I give my vote, that a resolution of the senate be drawn up in these words:
"Since the affairs of the republic have repeatedly been well and prosperously conducted by Marcus Lepidus, imperator, and Pontifex Maximus, and since the Roman people is fully aware that kingly power is very displeasing to him; and since by his exertions, and virtue, and prudence, and singular clemency and humanity, a most bitter civil war has been extinguished; and Sextus Pompeius Magnus, the son of Cnaeus, having submitted to the authority of this order and laid down his arms, and, in accordance with the perfect good-will of the senate and people of Rome, has been restored to the state by Marcus Lepidus, imperator, and Pontifex Maximus; the senate and people of Rome, in return for the important and numerous services of Marcus Lepidus to the republic, declares that it places great hopes of future tranquillity and peace and concord, in his virtue, authority, and good fortune; and the senate and people of Rome will ever remember his services to the republic; and it is decreed by the vote of this order, That a gilt equestrian statue be erected to him in the Rostra, or in whatever other place in the forum he pleases."
And this honour, O conscript fathers, appears to me a very great one, in the first place, because it is just;—for it is not merely given on account of our hopes of the future, but it is paid, as it were, in requital of his ample services already done. Nor are we able to mention any instance of this honour having been conferred on any one by the senate by their own free and voluntary judgment before.
XVI. I come now to Caius Caesar, O conscript fathers; if he had not existed, which of us could have been alive now? That most intemperate of men, Antonius, was flying from Brundusium to the city, burning with hatred, with a disposition hostile to all good men, with an army. What was there to oppose to his audacity and wickedness? We had not as yet any generals, or any forces. There was no public council, no liberty; our necks were at the mercy of his nefarious cruelty; we were all preparing to have recourse to flight, though flight itself had no escape for us. Who was it—what god was it, who at that time gave to the Roman people this godlike young man, who, while every means for completing our destruction seemed open to that most pernicious citizen, rising up on a sudden, beyond every one's hope, completed an army fit to oppose to the fury of Marcus Antonius before any one suspected that he was thinking of any such step? Great honours were paid to Cnaeus Pompeius when he was a young man, and deservedly; for he came to the assistance of the republic; but he was of a more vigorous age, and more calculated to meet the eager requirements of soldiers seeking a general. He had also been already trained in other kinds of war. For the cause of Sylla was not agreeable to all men. The multitude of the proscribed, and the enormous calamities that fell on so many municipal towns, show this plainly. But Caesar, though many years younger, armed veterans who were now eager to rest; he has embraced that cause which was most agreeable to the senate, to the people, to all Italy,—in short, to gods and men. And Pompeius came as a reinforcement to the extensive command and victorious army of Lucius Sylla; Caesar had no one to join himself to. He, of his own accord, was the author and executor of his plan of levying an army, and arraying a defence for us. Pompeius found the whole Picene district hostile to the party of his adversaries; but Caesar has levied an army against Antonius from men who were Antonius's own friends, but still greater friends to liberty. It was owing to the influence of Pompeius that Sylla was enabled to act like a king. It is by the protection afforded us by Caesar that the tyranny of Antonius has been put down.
Let us then confer on Caesar a regular military command, without which the military affairs cannot be directed, the army cannot be held together, war cannot be waged. Let him be made proprietor with all the privileges which have ever been attached to that appointment. That honour, although it is a great one for a man of his age, still is not merely of influence as giving dignity, but it confers powers calculated to meet the present emergency. Therefore, let us seek for honours for him which we shall not easily find at the present day.
XVII. But I hope that we and the Roman people shall often have an opportunity of complimenting and honouring this young man. But at the present moment I give my vote that we should pass a decree in this form:
"As Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, Pontiff and Propraetor, has at a most critical period of the republic exhorted the veteran soldiers to defend the liberty of the Roman people, and has enlisted them in his army, and as the Martial legion and the fourth legion, with great zeal for the republic, and with admirable unanimity, under the guidance and authority of Caius Caesar, have defended and are defending the republic and the liberty of the Roman people, and as Caius Caesar, propraetor, has gone with his army as a reinforcement to the province of Gaul, has made cavalry, and archers, and elephants, obedient to himself and to the Roman people, and has, at a most critical time for the republic, come to the aid of the safety and dignity of the Roman people,—on these accounts, it seems good to the senate that Caius Caesar, the son of Caius, pontiff and propraetor, shall be a senator, and shall deliver his opinions from the bench occupied by men of praetorian rank, and that, on occasion of his offering himself for any magistracy, he shall be considered of the same legal standing and qualification as if he had been quaestor the preceding year."
For what reason can there be, O conscript fathers, why we should not wish him to arrive at the highest honours at as early an age as possible? For when, by the laws fixing the age at which men might be appointed to the different magistracies our ancestors fixed a more mature age for the consulship, they were influenced by fears of the precipitation of youth, Caius Caesar, at his first entrance into life, has shown us that, in the case of his eminent and unparalleled virtue, we have no need to wait for the progress of age. Therefore our ancestors, those old men, in the most ancient times, had no laws regulating the age for the different offices, it was ambition which caused them to be passed many years afterwards, in order that there might be among men of the same age different steps for arriving at honours. And it has often happened that a disposition of great natural virtue has been lost before it had any opportunity of benefiting the republic.
But among the ancients, the Rulii, the Decii, the Corvim, and many others, and in more modern times the elder Africanus and Titus Flaminius were made consuls very young, and performed such exploits as greatly to extend the empire of the Roman people, and to embellish its name. What more? Did not the Macedonian Alexander, having begun to perform mighty deeds from his earliest youth, die when he was only in his thirty-third year? And that age is ten years less than that fixed by our laws for a man to be eligible for the consulship. From which it may be plainly seen that the progress of virtue is often swifter than that of age.
XVIII. For as to the fear which those men, who are enemies of Caesar, pretend to entertain, there is not the slightest reason to apprehend that he will be unable to restrain and govern himself, or that he will be so elated by the honours which he receives from us as to use his power with out moderation. It is only natural, O conscript fathers, that the man who has learnt to appreciate real glory, and who feels that he is considered by the senate and by the Roman knights and the whole Roman people a citizen who is dear to, and a blessing to the republic, should think nothing whatever deserving of being compared to this glory. Would that it had happened to Caius Caesar—the father, I mean—when he was a young man, to be beloved by the senate and by every virtuous citizen, but, having neglected to aim at that, he wasted all the power of genius which he had in a most brilliant degree, in a capricious pursuit of popular favour. Therefore, as he had not sufficient respect for the senate and the virtuous part of the citizens, he opened for himself that path for the extension of his power, which the virtue of a free people was unable to bear.
But the principles of his son are widely different; who is not only beloved by every one, but in the greatest degree by the most virtuous men. In him is placed all our hope of liberty, from him already has our safety been received, for him the highest honours are sought out and prepared. While therefore we are admiring his singular prudence, can we at the same time fear his folly? For what can be more foolish than to prefer useless power, such influence as brings envy in its train, and a rash and slippery ambition of reigning, to real, dignified, solid glory? Has he seen this truth as a boy, and when he has advanced in age will he cease to see it? "But he is an enemy to some most illustrious and excellent citizens." That circumstance ought not to cause any fear Caesar has sacrificed all those enmities to the republic; he had made the republic his judge; he has made her the directress of all his counsels and actions. For he is come to the service of the republic in order to strengthen her, not to overturn her. I am well acquainted with all the feelings of the young man: there is nothing dearer to him than the republic, nothing which he considers of more weight than your authority; nothing which he desires more than the approbation of virtuous men; nothing which he accounts sweeter than genuine glory.
Wherefore you not only ought not to fear anything from him, but you ought to expect greater and better things still. Nor ought you to apprehend with respect to a man who has already gone forward to release Decimus Brutus from a siege, that the recollection of his domestic injury will dwell in his bosom, and have more weight with him than the safety of the city. I will venture even to pledge my own faith, O conscript fathers, to you, and to the Roman people, and to the republic, which in truth, if no necessity compelled me to do so, I would not venture to do, and in doing which on slight grounds, I should be afraid of giving rise to a dangerous opinion of my rashness in a most important business; but I do promise, and pledge myself, and undertake, O conscript fathers, that Caius Caesar will always be such a citizen as he is this day, and as we ought above all things to wish and desire that he may turn out.
XIX. And as this is the case, I shall consider that I have said enough at present about Caesar.
Nor do I think that we ought to pass over Lucius Egnatuleius, a most gallant and wise and firm citizen, and one thoroughly attached to the republic, in silence; but that we ought to give him our testimony to his admirable virtue, because it was he who led the fourth legion to Caesar, to be a protection to the consuls, and senate, and people of Rome, and the republic. And for these acts I give my vote:
"That it be made lawful for Lucius Egnatuleius to stand for, and be elected to, and discharge the duties of any magistracy, three years before the legitimate time."
And by this motion, O conscript fathers, Lucius Egnatuleius does not get so much actual advantage as honour. For in a case like this it is quite sufficient to be honourably mentioned.
But concerning the army of Caius Caesar, I give my vote for the passing of a decree in this form:
"The senate decrees that the veteran soldiers who have defended and are defending [lacuna] of Caesar, pontiff [lacuna] and the authority of this order, should, and their children after them, have an exemption from military service. And that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, one or both of them, as they think fit, shall inquire what land there is in those colonies in which the veteran soldiers have been settled, which is occupied in defiance of the provisions of the Julian law, in order that that may be divided among these veterans. That they shall institute a separate inquiry about the Campanian district, and devise a plan for increasing the advantages enjoyed by these veteran soldiers; and with respect to the Martial legion, and to the fourth legion, and to those soldiers of the second and thirty-fifth legions who have come over to Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, and have given in their names, because the authority of the senate and the liberty of the Roman people is and always has been most dear to them, the senate decrees that they and their children shall have exemption from military service, except in the case of any Gallic and Italian sedition; and decrees further, that those legions shall have their discharge when this war is terminated; and that whatever sum of money Caius Caesar, pontiff and propraetor, has promised to the soldiers of those legions individually, shall be paid to them. And that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, one or both of them, as it seems good to them, shall make an estimate of the land which can be distributed without injury to private individuals; and that land shall be given and assigned to the soldiers of the Martial legion and of the fourth legion, in the largest shares in which land has ever been given and assigned to soldiers."
I have now spoken, O consuls, on every point concerning which you have submitted a motion to us; and if the resolutions which I have proposed be decreed without delay, and seasonably, you will the more easily prepare those measures which the present time and emergency demand. But instant action is necessary. And if we had adopted that earlier, we should, as I have often said, now have no war at all.
THE SIXTH ORATION OF M. T CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS CALLED ALSO THE SIXTH PHILIPPIC. ADDRESSED TO THE PEOPLE.
In respect of the honours proposed by Cicero in the last speech the senate agreed with him, voting to Octavius honours beyond any that Cicero had proposed. But they were much divided about the question of sending an embassy to Antonius, and the consuls, seeing that a majority agreed with Cicero, adjourned the debate till the next day. The discussion lasted three days, and the senate would at last have adopted all Cicero's measures if one of the tribunes, Salvius, had not put his veto on them. So that at last the embassy was ordered to be sent, and Servius Sulpicius, Lucius Piso, and Lucius Philippus, appointed as the ambassadors, but they were charged merely to order Antonius to abandon the siege of Mutina, and to desist from hostilities against the province of Gaul, and further, to proceed to Decimus Brutus in Mutina, and to give him and his army the thanks of the senate and people.
The length of the debates roused the curiosity of the people, who, being assembled in the forum to learn the result, called on Cicero to come forth and give them an account of what had been done—on which he went to the rostra, accompanied by Publius Appuleius the tribune, and related to them all that had passed in the following speech:
I. I imagine that you have heard, O Romans, what has been done in the senate, and what has been the opinion delivered by each individual. For the matter which has been in discussion ever since the first of January, has been just brought to a conclusion, with less severity indeed than it ought to have been, but still in a manner not altogether unbecoming. The war has been subjected to a delay, but the cause has not been removed. Wherefore, as to the question which Publius Appuleius—a man united to me by many kind offices and by the closest intimacy, and firmly attached to your interests—has asked me, I will answer in such a manner that you may be acquainted with the transactions at which you were not present.
The cause which prompted our most fearless and excellent consuls to submit a motion on the first of January, concerning the general state of the republic, arose from the decree which the senate passed by my advice on the nineteenth of December. On that day, O Romans, were the foundations of the republic first laid. For then, after a long interval, the senate was free in such a manner that you too might become free. On which day, indeed,—even if it had been to bring to me the end of my life,—I received a sufficient reward for my exertions, when you all with one heart and one voice cried out together, that the republic had been a second time saved by me. Stimulated by so important and so splendid a decision of yours in my favour, I came into the senate on the first of January, with the feeling that I was bound to show my recollection of the character which you had imposed upon me, and which I had to sustain.
Therefore, when I saw that a nefarious war was waged against the republic, I thought that no delay ought to be interposed to our pursuit of Marcus Antonius; and I gave my vote that we ought to pursue with war that most audacious man, who, having committed many atrocious crimes before, was at this moment attacking a general of the Roman people, and besieging your most faithful and gallant colony; and that a state of civil war ought to be proclaimed; and I said further, that my opinion was that a suspension of the ordinary forms of justice should be declared, and that the garb of war should be assumed by the citizens, in order that all men might apply themselves with more activity and energy to avenging the injuries of the republic, if they saw that all the emblems of a regular war had been adopted by the senate. Therefore, this opinion of mine, O Romans, prevailed so much for three days, that although no division was come to, still all, except a very few, appeared inclined to agree with me. But to-day—I know not owing to what circumstance—the senate was more indulgent. For the majority decided on our making experiment, by means of ambassadors, how much influence the authority of the senate and your unanimity will have upon Antonius.
II. I am well aware, O Romans, that this decision is disapproved of by you; and reasonably too. For to whom are we sending ambassadors? Is it not to him who, after having dissipated and squandered the public money, and imposed laws on the Roman people by violence and in violation of the auspices,—after having put the assembly of the people to flight and besieged the senate, sent for the legions from Brundusium to oppress the republic? who, when deserted by them, has invaded Gaul with a troop of banditti? who is attacking Brutus? who is besieging Mutina? How can you offer conditions to, or expect equity from, or send an embassy to, or, in short, have anything in common with, this gladiator? although, O Romans, it is not an embassy, but a denunciation of war if he does not obey. For the decree has been drawn up as if ambassadors were being sent to Hannibal. For men are sent to order him not to attack the consul elect, not to besiege Mutina, not to lay waste the province, not to enlist troops, but to submit himself to the power of the senate and people of Rome. No doubt he is a likely man to obey this injunction, and to submit to the power of the conscript fathers and to yours, who has never even had any mastery over himself. For what has he ever done that showed any discretion, being always led away wherever his lust, or his levity, or his frenzy, or his drunkenness has hurried him? He has always been under the dominion of two very dissimilar classes of men, pimps and robbers; he is so fond of domestic adulteries and forensic murders, that he would rather obey a most covetous woman than the senate and people of Rome.
III. Therefore, I will do now before you what I have just done in the senate. I call you to witness, I give notice, I predict beforehand, that Marcus Antonius will do nothing whatever of those things which the ambassadors are commissioned to command him to do; but that he will lay waste the lands, and besiege Mutina and enlist soldiers, wherever he can. For he is a man who has at all times despised the judgment and authority of the senate, and your inclinations and power. Will he do what it has been just now decreed that he shall do,—lead his army back across the Rubicon, which is the frontier of Gaul, and yet at the same time not come nearer Rome than two hundred miles? will he obey this notice? will he allow himself to be confined by the river Rubicon and by the limit of two hundred miles? Antonius is not that sort of man. For if he had been, he would never have allowed matters to come to such a pass, as for the senate to give him notice, as it did to Hannibal at the beginning of the Punic war not to attack Saguntum. But what ignominy it is to be called away from Mutina, and at the same time to be forbidden to approach the city as if he were some fatal conflagration! what an opinion is this for the senate to have of a man! What? As to the commission which is given to the ambassadors to visit Decimus Brutus and his soldiers, and to inform them that their excellent zeal in behalf of, and services done to the republic, are acceptable to the senate and people of Rome, and that that conduct shall tend to their great glory and to their great honour; do you think that Antonius will permit the ambassadors to enter Mutina? and to depart from thence in safety? He never will allow it, believe me. I know the violence of the man, I know his impudence, I know his audacity.
Nor, indeed, ought we to think of him as of a human being, but as of a most ill-omened beast. And as this is the case, the decree which the senate has passed is not wholly improper. The embassy has some severity in it; I only wish it had no delay. For as in the conduct of almost every affair slowness and procrastination are hateful, so above all things does this war require promptness of action. We must assist Decimus Brutus; we must collect all our forces from all quarters; we cannot lose a single hour in effecting the deliverance of such a citizen without wickedness. Was it not in his power, if he had considered Antonius a consul, and Gaul the province of Antonius, to have given over the legions and the province to Antonius? and to return home himself? and to celebrate a triumph? and to be the first man in this body to deliver his opinion, until he entered on his magistracy? What was the difficulty of doing that? But as he remembered that he was Brutus, and that he was born for your freedom, not for his own tranquillity, what else did he do but—as I may almost say—put his own body in the way to prevent Antonius from entering Gaul? Ought we then to send ambassadors to this man, or legions? However, we will say nothing of what is past. Let the ambassadors hasten, as I see that they are about to do. Do you prepare your robes of war. For it has been decreed, that, if he does not obey the authority of the senate, we are all to betake our selves to our military dress. And we shall have to do so. He will never obey. And we shall lament that we have lost so many days, when we might have been doing something.
IV I have no fear, O Romans, that when Antonius hears that I have asserted, both in the senate and in the assembly of the people, that he never will submit himself to the power of the senate, he will, for the sake of disproving my words, and making me to appeal to have had no foresight, alter his behaviour and obey the senate. He will never do so. He will not grudge me this part of my reputation, he will prefer letting me be thought wise by you to being thought modest himself. Need I say more? Even if he were willing to do so himself, do you think that his brother Lucius would permit him? It has been reported that lately at Tibur, when Marcus Antonius appeared to him to be wavering, he, Lucius, threatened his brother with death. And do we suppose that the orders of the senate, and the words of the ambassadors, will be listened to by this Asiatic gladiator? It will be impossible for him to be separated from a brother, especially from one of so much authority. For he is another Africanus among them. He is considered of more influence than Lucius Trebellius, of more than Titus Plancus [lacuna] a noble young man. As for Plancus, who, having been condemned by the unanimous vote of every one, amid the overpowering applause of you yourselves, somehow or other got mixed up in this crowd, and returned with a countenance so sorrowful, that he appeared to have been dragged back rather than to have returned, he despises him to such degree, as if he were interdicted from fire and water. At times he says that that man who set the senate house on fire has no right to a place in the senate house. For at this moment he is exceedingly in love with Trebellius. He hated him some time ago, when he was opposing an abolition of debts, but now he delights in him, ever since he has seen that Trebellius himself cannot continue in safety without an abolition of debts. For I think that you have heard, O Romans, what indeed you may possibly have seen, that the sureties and creditors of Lucius Trebellius meet every day. Oh confidence! for I imagine that Trebellius has taken this surname, what can be greater confidence than defrauding one's creditors? than flying from one's house? than, because of one's debts, being forced to go to war? What has become of the applauses which he received on the occasion of Caesar's triumph, and often at the games? Where is the aedileship that was conferred on him by the zealous efforts of all good men? who is there who does not now think that he acted virtuously by accident?