You propose to take the legions away from Brutus—which legions? Why, those which he has gained over from the wickedness of Caius Antonius, and has by his own authority gained over to the republic. Do you wish then that he should again appear to be the only person stripped of his authority, and as it were banished by the senate? And you, O conscript fathers, if you abandon and betray Marcus Brutus, what citizen in the world will you ever distinguish? Whom will you ever favour? Unless, indeed, you think that those men who put a diadem on a man's head deserve to be preserved, and those who have abolished the very name of kingly power deserve to be abandoned. And of this divine and immortal glory of Marcus Brutus I will say no more, it is already embalmed in the grateful recollection of all the citizens, but it has not yet been sanctioned by any formal act of public authority. Such patience! O ye good gods! such moderation! such tranquillity and submission under injury! A man who, while he was praetor of the city, was driven from the city, was prevented from sitting as judge in legal proceedings, when it was he who had restored all law to the republic, and, though he might have been hedged round by the daily concourse of all virtuous men, who were constantly flocking round him in marvellous numbers, he preferred to be defended in his absence by the judgment of the good, to being present and protected by their force,—who was not even present to celebrate the games to Apollo, which had been prepared in a manner suitable to his own dignity and to that of the Roman people, lest he should open any road to the audacity of most wicked men.
IV. Although, what games or what days were ever more joyful than those on which at every verse that the actor uttered, the Roman people did honour to the memory of Brutus, with loud shouts of applause? The person of their liberator was absent, the recollection of their liberty was present, in which the appearance of Brutus himself seemed to be visible. But the man himself I beheld on those very days of the games, in the country-house of a most illustrious young man, Lucullus, his relation, thinking of nothing but the peace and concord of the citizens. I saw him again afterwards at Veha, departing from Italy, in order that there might be no pretext for civil war on his account. Oh what a sight was that! grievous, not only to men but to the very waves and shores. That its saviour should be departing from his country, that its destroyers should be remaining in their country! The fleet of Cassius followed a few days afterwards, so that I was ashamed O conscript fathers, to return into the city from which those men were departing. But the design with which I returned you heard at the beginning, and since that you have known by experience. Brutus, therefore, bided his time. For, as long as he saw you endure everything, he himself behaved with incredible patience, after that he saw you roused to a desire of liberty, he prepared the means to protect you in your liberty.
But what a pest, and how great a pest was it which he resisted? For if Caius Antonius had been able to accomplish what he intended in his mind, (and he would have been able to do so if the virtue of Marcus Brutus had not opposed his wickedness,) we should have lost Macedonia, Illyricum, and Greece. Greece would have been a refuge for Antonius if defeated, or a support to him in attacking Italy, which at present, being not only arrayed in arms, but embellished by the military command and authority and troops of Marcus Brutus stretches out her right hand to Italy, and promises it her protection. And the man who proposes to deprive him of his army, is taking away a most illustrious honour, and a most trustworthy guard from the republic. I wish, indeed, that Antonius may hear this news as speedily as possible, so that he may understand that it is not Decimus Brutus whom he is surrounding with his ramparts, but he himself who is really hemmed in.
V. He possesses three towns only on the whole face of the earth. He has Gaul most bitterly hostile to him, he has even those men the people beyond the Po, in whom he placed the greatest reliance, entirely alienated from him, all Italy is his enemy. Foreign nations, from the nearest coast of Greece to Egypt, are occupied by the military command and armies of most virtuous and intrepid citizens. His only hope was in Caius Antonius; who being in age the middle one between his two brothers, rivalled both of them in vices. He hastened away as if he were being driven away by the senate into Macedonia, not as if he were prohibited from proceeding thither. What a storm, O ye immortal gods! what a conflagration! what a devastation! what a pestilence to Greece would that man have been, if incredible and godlike virtue had not checked the enterprise and audacity of that frantic man. What promptness was there in Brutus's conduct! what prudence! what valour! Although the rapidity of the movement of Caius Antonius also is not despicable; for if some vacant inheritance had not delayed him on his march, you might have said that he had flown rather than travelled. When we desire other men to go forth to undertake any public business, we are scarcely able to get them out of the city; but we have driven this man out by the mere fact of our desiring to retain him. But what business had he with Apollonia? what business had he with Dyrrachium? or with Illyricum? What had he to do with the army of Publius Vatinius, our general? He, as he said himself, was the successor of Hortensius. The boundaries of Macedonia are well defined; the condition of the proconsul is well known; the amount of his army, if he has any at all, is fixed. But what had Antonius to do at all with Illyricum and with the legions of Vatinius?
But Brutus had nothing to do with them either. For that, perhaps, is what some worthless man may say. All the legions, all the forces which exist anywhere, belong to the Roman people. Nor shall those legions which have quitted Marcus Antonius be called the legions of Antonius rather than of the republic; for he loses all power over his army, and all the privileges of military command, who uses that military command and that army to attack the republic.
VI. But if the republic itself could give a decision, or if all rights were established by its decrees, would it adjudge the legions of the Roman people to Antonius or to Brutus? The one had flown with precipitation to the plunder and destruction of the allies, in order, wherever he went, to lay waste, and pillage, and plunder everything, and to employ the army of the Roman people against the Roman people itself. The other had laid down this law for himself, that wherever he came he should appear to come as a sort of light and hope of safety. Lastly, the one was seeking aids to overturn the republic; the other to preserve it. Nor, indeed, did we see this more clearly than the soldiers themselves; from whom so much discernment in judging was not to have been expected.
He writes, that Antonius is at Apollonia with seven cohorts, and he is either by this time taken prisoner, (may the gods grant it!) or, at all events, like a modest man, he does not come near Macedonia, lest he should seem to act in opposition to the resolution of the senate. A levy of troops has been held in Macedonia, by the great zeal and diligence of Quintus Hortensius; whose admirable courage, worthy both of himself and of his ancestors, you may clearly perceive from the letters of Brutus. The legion which Lucius Piso, the lieutenant of Antonius, commanded, has surrendered itself to Cicero, my own son. Of the cavalry, which was being led into Syria in two divisions, one division has left the quaestor who was commanding it, in Thessaly, and has joined Brutus; and Cnaeus Domitius, a young man of the greatest virtue and wisdom and firmness, has carried off the other from the Syrian lieutenant in Macedonia. But Publius Vatinius, who has before this been deservedly praised by us, and who is justly entitled to further praise at the present time, has opened the gates of Dyrrachium to Brutus, and has given him up his army.
The Roman people then is now in possession of Macedonia, and Illyricum, and Greece. The legions there are all devoted to us, the light-armed troops are ours, the cavalry is ours, and, above all, Brutus is ours, and always will be ours—a man born for the republic, both by his own most excellent virtues, and also by some especial destiny of name and family, both on his father's and on his mother's side.
VII. Does any one then fear war from this man, who, until we commenced the war, being compelled to do so, preferred lying unknown in peace to flourishing in war? Although he, in truth, never did lie unknown, nor can this expression possibly be applied to such great eminence in virtue. For he was the object of regret to the state; he was in every one's mouth, the subject of every one's conversation. But he was so far removed from an inclination to war, that, though he was burning with a desire to see Italy free, he preferred being wanting to the zeal of the citizens, to leading them to put everything to the issue of war. Therefore, those very men, if there be any such, who find fault with the slowness of Brutus's movements, nevertheless at the same time admire his moderation and his patience.
But I see now what it is they mean: nor, in truth, do they use much disguise. They say that they are afraid how the veterans may endure the idea of Brutus having an army. As if there were any difference between the troops of Aulus Hirtius, of Caius Pansa, of Decimus Brutus, of Caius Caesar, and this army of Marcus Brutus. For if these four armies which I have mentioned are praised because they have taken up arms for the sake of the liberty of the Roman people, what reason is there why this army of Marcus Brutus should not be classed under the same head? Oh, but the very name of Marcus Brutus is unpopular among the veterans.—More than that of Decimus Brutus?—I think not; for although the action is common to both the Bruti, and although their share in the glory is equal, still those men who were indignant at that deed were more angry with Decimus Brutus, because they said, that it was more improper for it to be executed by him. What now are all those armies labouring at, except to effect the release of Decimus Brutus from a siege? And who are the commanders of those armies? Those men, I suppose, who wish the acts of Caius Caesar to be overturned, and the cause of the veterans to be betrayed.
VIII. If Caesar himself were alive, could he, do you imagine, defend his own acts more vigorously than that most gallant man Hirtius defends them? or, is it possible that any one should be found more friendly to the cause than his son? But the one of these, though not long recovered from a very long attack of a most severe disease, has applied all the energy and influence which he had to defending the liberty of those men by whose prayers he considered that he himself had been recalled from death; the other, stronger in the strength of his virtue than in that of his age, has set out with those very veterans to deliver Decimus Brutus. Therefore, those men who are both the most certain and at the same time the most energetic defenders of the acts of Caesar, are waging war for the safety of Decimus Brutus; and they are followed by the veterans. For they see that they must fight to the uttermost for the freedom of the Roman people, not for their own advantages. What reason, then, is there why the army of Marcus Brutus should be an object of suspicion to those men who with the whole of their energies desire the preservation of Decimus Brutus?
But, moreover, if there were anything which were to be feared from Marcus Brutus, would not Pansa perceive it? Or if he did perceive it, would not he, too, be anxious about it? Who is either more acute in his conjectures of the future, or more diligent in warding off danger? But you have already seen his zeal for, and inclination towards Marcus Brutus. He has already told us in his speech what we ought to decree, and how we ought to feel with respect to Marcus Brutus. And he was so far from thinking the army of Marcus Brutus dangerous to the republic, that he considered it the most important and the most trusty bulwark of the republic. Either, then, Pansa does not perceive this (no doubt he is a man of dull intellect), or he disregards it. For he is clearly not anxious that the acts which Caesar executed should be ratified,—he, who in compliance with our recommendation is going to bring forward a bill at the comitia centuriata for sanctioning and confirming them.
IX. Let those, then, who have no fear, cease to pretend to be alarmed, and to be exercising their foresight in the cause of the republic. And let those who really are afraid of everything, cease to be too fearful, lest the pretence of the one party and the inactivity of the other be injurious to us. What, in the name of mischief! is the object of always opposing the name of the veterans to every good cause? For even if I were attached to their virtue, as indeed I am, still, if they were arrogant I should not be able to tolerate their airs. While we are endeavouring to break the bonds of slavery, shall any one hinder us by saying that the veterans do not approve of it? For they are not, I suppose, beyond all counting, who are ready to take up arms in defence of the common freedom! There is no man, except the veteran soldiers, who is stimulated by the indignation of a freeman to repel slavery! Can the republic then stand, relying wholly on veterans, without a great reinforcement of the youth of the state? Whom, indeed, you ought to be attached to, if they be assistants to you in the assertion of your freedom, but whom you ought not to follow if they be the advisers of slavery.
Lastly, (let me at last say one true word, one word worthy of myself!)—if the inclinations of this order are governed by the nod of the veterans, and if all our words and actions are to be referred to their will, death is what we should wish for, which has always, in the minds of Roman citizens, been preferable to slavery. All slavery is miserable; but some may have been unavoidable. Do you think, then, that there is never to be a beginning of our endeavours to recover our freedom? Or, when we would not bear that fortune which was unavoidable, and which seemed almost as if appointed by destiny, shalt we tolerate the voluntary bondage? All Italy is burning with a desire for freedom. The city cannot endure slavery any longer. We have given this warlike attire and these arms to the Roman people much later than they have been demanded of us by them.
X. We have, indeed, undertaken our present course of action with a great and almost certain hope of liberty. But even if I allow that the events of war are uncertain, and that the chances of Mars are common to both sides, still it is worth while to fight for freedom at the peril of one's life. For life does not consist wholly in breathing, there is literally no life at all for one who is a slave. All nations can endure slavery. Our state cannot. Nor is there any other reason for this, except that those nations shrink from toil and pain, and are willing to endure anything so long as they may be free from those evils, but we have been trained and bred up by our forefathers in such a manner, as to measure all our designs and all our actions by the standard of dignity and virtue. The recovery of freedom is so splendid a thing that we must not shun even death when seeking to recover it. But if immortality were to be the result of our avoidance of present danger, still slavery would appear still more worthy of being avoided, in proportion as it is of longer duration. But as all sorts of deaths surround us on all sides night and day, it does not become a man, and least of all a Roman, to hesitate to give up to his country that breath which he owes to nature.
Men flock together from all quarters to extinguish a general conflagration. The veterans were the first to follow the authority of Caesar and to repel the attempts of Antonius, afterwards the Martial legion checked his frenzy, the fourth legion crushed it. Being thus condemned by his own legions, he burst into Gaul, which he knew to be adverse and hostile to him both in word and deed. The armies of Aulus Hirtius and Caius Caesar pursued him, and afterwards the levies of Pansa roused the city and all Italy. He is the one enemy of all men. Although he has with him Lucius his brother, a citizen very much beloved by the Roman people, the regret for whose absence the city is unable to endure any longer! What can be more foul than that beast? what more savage? who appears born for the express purpose of preventing Marcus Antonius from being the basest of all mortals. They have with them Trebellius, who, now that all debts are cancelled, is become reconciled to them, and Titus Plancus, and other like them, who are striving with all their hearts, and whose sole object is, to appear to have been restored against the will of the republic. Saxa and Capho, themselves rustic and clownish men, men who never have seen and who never wish to see this republic firmly established, are tampering with the ignorant classes; men who are not upholding the acts of Caesar but those of Antonius, who are led away by the unlimited occupation of the Campanian district, and who I marvel are not somewhat ashamed when they see that they have actors and actresses for their neighbours.
XI. Why then should we be displeased that the army of Marcus Brutus is thrown into the scale to assist us in overwhelming these pests of the commonwealth? It is the army, I suppose, of an intemperate and turbulent man. I am more afraid of his being too patient, although in all the counsels and actions of that man there never has been anything either too much or too little. The whole inclinations of Marcus Brutus, O conscript fathers, the whole of his thoughts, the whole of his ideas, are directed towards the authority of the senate and the freedom of the Roman people. These are the objects which he proposes to himself, these are what he desires to uphold. He has tried what he could do by patience, as he did nothing he has thought it necessary to encounter force by force. And, O conscript fathers, you ought at this time to grant him the same honours which on the nineteenth of December you conferred by my advice on Decimus Brutus and Caius Caesar, whose designs and conduct in regard to the republic, while they also were but private individuals, was approved of and praised by your authority. And you ought to do the same now with respect to Marcus Brutus, by whom an unhoped for and sudden reinforcement of legions and cavalry, and numerous and trusty bands of allies, have been provided for the republic.
Quintus Hortensius also ought to have a share of your praise, who, being governor of Macedonia, joined Brutus as a most faithful and untiring assistant in collecting that army. For I think that a separate motion ought to be made respecting Marcus Appuleius, to whom Brutus bears witness in his letters that he has been a prime assistant to him in his endeavours to get together and equip his army. And since this is the case,
"As Caius Pansa the consul has addressed to us a speech concerning the letters which have been received from Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, and have been read in this assembly, I give my vote in this matter thus.
"Since, by the exertions and wisdom and industry and valour of Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, at a most critical period of the republic, the province of Macedonia, and Illyircum, and all Greece, and the legions and armies and cavalry, have been preserved in obedience to the consuls and senate and people of Rome, Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, has acted well, and in a manner advantageous to the republic and suitable to his own dignity and to that of his ancestors, and to the principles according to which alone the affairs of the republic can be properly managed, and that conduct is and will be grateful to the senate and people of Rome.
"And moreover, as Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, is occupying and defending and protecting the province of Macedonia, and Illyricum, and all Greece, and is preserving them in safety, and as he is in command of an army which he himself has levied and collected, he is at liberty, if he has need of any, to exact money for the use of the military service, which belongs to the public, and can lawfully be exacted, and to use it, and to borrow money for the exigencies of the war from whomsoever he thinks fit, and to exact coin, and to endeavour to approach Italy as near as he can with his forces. And as it has been understood from the letters of Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, that the republic has been greatly benefited by the energy and valour of Quintus Hortensius, proconsul, and that all his counsels have been in harmony with those of Quintus Caepio Brutus, proconsul, and that that harmony has been of the greatest service to the republic, Quintus Hortensius has acted well and becomingly, and in a manner advantageous to the republic. And the senate decrees that Quintus Hortensius, proconsul, shall occupy the province of Macedonia with his quaestors, or proquaestors and lieutenants, until he shall have a successor regularly appointed by resolution of the senate."
THE ELEVENTH ORATION OF M T CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS. CALLED ALSO THE ELEVENTH PHILIPPIC
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A short time after the delivery of the preceding speech, news came to Rome of Dolabella (the colleague of Antonius) having been very successful in Asia. He had left Rome before the expiration of his consulship to take possession of Syria, which Antonius had contrived to have allotted him, and he hoped to prevail on the inhabitants of the province of Asia also to abandon Trebonius, (who had been one of the slayers of Caesar, and was governor of Asia) and submit to him. Trebonius was residing at Smyrna, and Dolabella arrived before the walls of that town with very few troops, requesting a free passage through Trebonius's province. Trebonius refused to admit him into the town, but promised that he would permit him to enter Ephesus. Dolabella, however, effected an entry into Smyrna by a nocturnal surprise, and seized Trebonius, whom he murdered with great cruelty.
As soon as the news of this event reached Rome, the consul summoned the senate, which at once declared Dolabella a public enemy, and confiscated his estate. Calenus was the mover of this decree. But besides this motion there was another question to be settled namely, who was to be appointed to conduct the war against Dolabella. Some proposed to send Publius Servilus; others, that the two consuls should be sent, and should have the two provinces of Asia and Syria allotted to them, and this last proposition Pansa himself was favourable to, and it was supported not only by his friends, but also by the partisans of Antonius, who thought it would draw off the consuls from their present business of relieving Decimus Brutus. But Cicero thought that it would be an insult to Cassius, who was already in those countries, to supersede him as it were, by sending any one else to command there, and so he exerted all his influence to procure a decree entrusting the command to him, though Servilia, the mother-in-law of Cassius, and other of Cassius's friends, begged him not to disoblige Pansa. He persevered, however and made the following speech in support of his opinion.
It appears that Cicero failed in his proposition through the influence of Pansa, but before any orders came from Rome, Cassius had defeated Dolabella near Laodicea, and he killed himself to avoid falling into the hands of his conqueror.
I. AMID the great grief, O conscript fathers, or rather misery which we have suffered at the cruel and melancholy death of Caius Trebonius, a most virtuous citizen and a most moderate man, there is still a circumstance or two in the case which I think will turn out beneficial to the republic. For we have now thoroughly seen what great barbarity these men are capable of who have taken up wicked arms against their country. For these two, Dolabella and Antonius, are the very blackest and foulest monsters that have ever lived since the birth of man; one of whom has now done what he wished; and as to the other, it has been plainly shown what he intended. Lucius Cinna was cruel; Caius Marius was unrelenting in his anger; Lucius Sylla was fierce; but still the inhumanity of none of these men ever went beyond death; and that punishment indeed was thought too cruel to be inflicted on citizens.
Here now you have a pair equal in wickedness; unprecedented, unheard of, savage, barbarous. Therefore those men whose vehement mutual hatred and quarrel you recollect a short time ago, have now been united in singular unanimity and mutual attachment by the singularity of their wicked natures and most infamous lives. Therefore, that which Dolabella has now done in a case in which he had the power, Antonius threatens many with. But the former, as he was a long way from our counsels and armies, and as he was not yet aware that the senate had united with the Roman people, relying on the forces of Antonius, has committed those wicked actions which he thought were already put in practice at Rome by his accomplice in wickedness. What else then do you think that this man is contriving or wishing, or what other object do you think he has in the war? All of us who have either entertained the thoughts of freemen concerning the republic, or have given utterance to opinions worthy of ourselves, he decides to be not merely opposed to him, but actual enemies. And he plans inflicting bitterer punishments on us than on the enemy; he thinks death a punishment imposed by nature, but torments and tortures the proper inflictions of anger. What sort of enemy then must we consider that man who, if he be victorious, requires one to think death a kindness if he spares one the tortures with which it is in his power to accompany it?
II. Wherefore, O conscript fathers, although you do not need any one to exhort you, (for you yourself have of your own accord warmed up with the desire of recovering your freedom,) still defend, I warn you, your freedom with so much the more zeal and courage, in proportion as the punishments of slavery with which you see the conquered are threatened are more terrible. Antonius has invaded Gaul; Dolabella, Asia; each a province with which he had no business whatever. Brutus has opposed himself to the one, and at the peril of his own life has checked the onset of that frantic man wishing to harass and plunder everything, has prevented his further progress, and has cut him off from his return. By allowing himself to be besieged he has hemmed in Antonius on each side.
The other has forced his way into Asia. With what object? If it was merely to proceed into Syria, he had a road open to him which was sure, and was not long. What was the need of sending forward some Marsian, they call him Octavius, with a legion; a wicked and necessitous robber; a man to lay waste the lands, to harass the cities, not from any hope of acquiring any permanent property, which they who know him say that he is unable to keep (for I have not the honour of being acquainted with this senator myself,) but just as present food to satisfy his indigence? Dolabella followed him, without any one having any suspicion of war. For how could any one think of such a thing? Very friendly conferences with Trebonius ensued; embraces, false tokens of the greatest good-will, were there full of simulated affection; the pledge of the right hand, which used to be a witness of good faith, was violated by treachery and wickedness; then came the nocturnal entry into Smyrna, as if into an enemy's city—Smyrna, which is a city of our most faithful and most ancient allies; then the surprise of Trebonius, who, if he were surprised by one who was an open enemy, was very careless; if by one who up to that moment maintained the appearance of a citizen, was miserable. And by his example fortune wished us to take a lesson of what the conquered party had to fear. He handed over a man of consular rank, governing the province of Asia with consular authority, to an exiled armourer; he would not slay him the moment that he had taken him, fearing, I suppose, that his victory might appear too merciful; but after having attacked that most excellent man with insulting words from his impious mouth, then he examined him with scourges and tortures concerning the public money, and that for two days together. Afterwards he cut off his head, and ordered it to be fixed on a javelin and carried about, and the rest of his body, having been dragged through the street and town, he threw into the sea.
We, then, have to war against this enemy by whose most foul cruelty all the savageness of barbarous nations is surpassed. Why need I speak of the massacre of Roman citizens? of the plunder of temples? Who is there who can possibly deplore such circumstances as their atrocity deserves? And now he is ranging all over Asia, he is triumphing about as a king, he thinks that we are occupied in another quarter by another war, as if it were not one and the same war against this outrageous pair of impious men.
III. You see now an image of the cruelty of Marcus Antonius in Dolabella, this conduct of his is formed on the model of the other. It is by him that the lessons of wickedness have been taught to Dolabella. Do you think that Antonius, if he had the power, would be more merciful in Italy than Dolabella has proved in Asia? To me, indeed, this latter appears to have gone as far as the insanity of a savage man could go; nor do I believe that Antonius either would omit any description of punishment, if he had only the power to inflict it.
Place then before your eyes, O conscript fathers, that spectacle, miserable indeed, and tearful, but still indispensable to rouse your minds properly: the nocturnal attack upon the most beautiful city in Asia; the irruption of armed men into Trebonius's house, when that unhappy man saw the swords of the robbers before he heard what was the matter, the entrance of Dolabella, raging,—his ill omened voice, and infamous countenance,—the chains, the scourges, the rack, the armourer who was both torturer and executioner, all which they say that the unhappy Trebonius endured with great fortitude. A great praise, and in my opinion indeed the greatest of all, for it is the part of a wise man to resolve beforehand that whatever can happen to a brave man is to be endured with patience if it should happen. It is indeed a proof of altogether greater wisdom to act with such foresight as to prevent any such thing from happening, but it is a token of no less courage to bear it bravely if it should befall one.
And Dolabella was indeed so wholly forgetful of the claims of humanity, (although, indeed, he never had any particular recollection of it,) as to vent his insatiable cruelty, not only on the living man, but also on the dead carcass, and, as he could not sufficiently glut his hatred, to feed his eyes also on the lacerations inflicted, and the insults offered to his corpse.
IV. O Dolabella, much more wretched than he whom you intended to be the most wretched of all men! Trebonius endured great agonies, many men have endured greater still, from severe disease, whom, however, we are in the habit of calling not miserable, but afflicted. His sufferings, which lasted two days, were long, but many men have had sufferings lasting many years, nor are the tortures inflicted by executioners more terrible than those caused by disease are sometimes. There are other tortures,—others, I tell you, O you most abandoned and insane man, which are far more miserable. For in proportion as the vigour of the mind exceeds that of the body, so also are the sufferings which rack the mind more terrible than those which are endured by the body. He, therefore, who commits a wicked action is more wretched than he who is compelled to endure the wickedness of another. Trebonius was tortured by Dolabella, and so, indeed, was Regulus by the Carthaginians. If on that account the Carthaginians were considered very cruel for such behaviour to an enemy, what must we think of Dolabella, who treated a citizen in such a manner? Is there any comparison? or can we doubt which of the two is most miserable? he whose death the senate and Roman people wish to avenge, or he who has been adjudged an enemy by the unanimous vote of the senate? For in every other particular of their lives, who could possibly, without the greatest insult to Trebonius, compare the life of Trebonius to that of Dolabella? Who is ignorant of the wisdom, and genius, and humanity, and innocence of the one, and of his greatness of mind as displayed in his exertions for the freedom of his country? The other, from his very childhood, has taken delight in cruelty; and, moreover, such has been the shameful nature of his lusts, that he has always delighted in the very fact of doing those things which he could not even be reproached with by a modest enemy.
And this man, O ye immortal gods, was once my relation! For his vices were unknown to one who did not inquire into such things nor perhaps should I now be alienated from him if he had not been discovered to be an enemy to you, to the walls of his country, to this city, to our household gods, to the altars and hearths of all of us,—in short, to human nature and to common humanity. But now, having received this lesson from him, let us be the more diligent and vigilant in being on our guard against Antonius.
V. Indeed, Dolabella had not with him any great number of notorious and conspicuous robbers. But you see there are with Antonius, and in what numbers. In the first place, there is his brother Lucius—what a firebrand, O ye immortal gods! what an incarnation of crime and wickedness! what a gulf, what a whirlpool of a man! What do you think that man incapable of swallowing up in his mind, or gulping down in his thoughts! Who do you imagine there is whose blood he is not thirsting for? who, on whose possessions and fortunes he is not fixing his most impudent eyes, his hopes, and his whole heart? What shall we say of Censorinus? who, as far as words go, said indeed that he wished to be the city praetor, but who, in fact, was unwilling to be so? What of Bestia, who professes that he is a candidate for the consulship in the place of Brutus? May Jupiter avert from us this most detestable omen! But how absurd is it for a man to stand for the consulship who cannot be elected praetor! unless, indeed, he thinks his conviction may be taken as an equivalent to the praetorship. Let this second Caesar, this great Vopiscus, a man of consummate genius, of the highest influence, who seeks the consulship immediately after having been aedile, be excused from obedience to the laws. Although, indeed, the laws do not bind him, on account, I suppose, of his exceeding dignity. But this man has been acquitted five times when I have defended him. To win a sixth city victory is difficult, even in the case of a gladiator. However, this is the fault of the judges, not mine. I defended him with perfect good faith, they were bound to retain a most illustrious and excellent citizen in the republic, who now, however, appears to have no other object except to make us understand that those men whose judicial decisions we annulled, decided rightly and in a manner advantageous to the republic.
Nor is this the case with respect to this man alone; there are other men in the same camp honestly condemned and shamefully restored; what counsel do you imagine can be adopted by those men who are enemies to all good men, that is not utterly cruel? There is besides a fellow called Saxa; I don't know who he is, some man whom Caesar imported from the extremity of Celtiberia and gave us for a tribune of the people. Before that, he was a measurer of ground for camps; now he hopes to measure out and value the city. May the evils which this foreigner predicts to us fall on his own head, and may we escape in safety! With him is the veteran Capho; nor is there any man whom the veteran troops hate more cordially; to these men, as if in addition to the dowry which they had received during our civil disasters, Antonius had given the Campanian district, that they might have it as a sort of nurse for their other estates. I only wish they would be contented with them! We would bear it then, though it would not be what ought to be borne, but still it would be worth our while to bear anything, as long as we could escape this most shameful war.
VI. What more? Have you not before your eyes those ornaments of the camp of Marcus Antonius? In the first place, these two colleagues of the Antonii and Dolabella, Nucula and Lento the dividers of all Italy according to that law which the senate pronounced to have been earned by violence, one of whom has been a writer of farces, and the other an actor of tragedies. Why should I speak of Domitius the Apulian? whose property we have lately seen advertised, so great is the carelessness of his agents. But this man lately was not content with giving poison to his sister's son, he actually drenched him with it. But it is impossible for these men to live in any other than a prodigal manner, who hope for our property while they are squandering their own. I have seen also an auction of the property of Publius Decius, an illustrious man, who, following the example of his ancestors, devoted himself for the debts of another. But at that auction no one was found to be a purchaser. Ridiculous man to think it possible to escape from debt by selling other people's property! For why should I speak of Trebellius? on whom the furies of debts seem to have wrecked their vengeance, for we have seen one table avenging another. Why should I speak of Plancus? whom that most illustrious citizen Aquila has driven from Pollentia,—and that too with a broken leg, and I wish he had met with that accident earlier, so as not to be liable to return hither.
I had almost passed over the light and glory of that army, Caius Annius Cimber, the son of Lysidicus, a Lysidicus himself in the Greek meaning of the word, since he has broken all laws, unless perhaps it is natural for a Cimbrian to slay a German? When Antonius has such numbers with him, and those too men of that sort, what crime will he shrink from, when Dolabella has polluted himself with such atrocious murders without at all an equal troop of robbers to support him? Wherefore, as I have often at other times differed against my will from Quintus Fufius, so on this occasion I gladly agree with his proposition. And from this you may see that my difference is not with the man, but with the cause which he sometimes advocates.
Therefore, at present I not only agree with Quintus Fufius, but I even return thanks to him, for he has given utterance to opinions which are upright, and dignified, and worthy of the republic. He has pronounced Dolabella a public enemy, he has declared his opinion that his property ought to be confiscated by public authority. And though nothing could be added to this, (for, indeed, what could he propose more severe or more pitiless?) nevertheless, he said that if any of those men who were asked their opinion after him proposed any more severe sentence, he would vote for it. Who can avoid praising such severity as this?
VII. Now, since Dolabella has been pronounced a public enemy, he must be pursued by war. For he himself will not remain quiet. He has a legion with him, he has troops of runaway slaves, he has a wicked band of impious men, he himself is confident, intemperate, and bent on falling by the death of a gladiator. Wherefore, since, as Dolabella was voted an enemy by the decree which was passed yesterday, war must be waged, we must necessarily appoint a general.
Two opinions have been advanced, neither of which do I approve. The one, because I always think it dangerous unless it be absolutely necessary, the other, because I think it wholly unsuited to the emergency. For an extraordinary commission is a measure suited rather to the fickle character of the mob, one which does not at all become our dignity or this assembly. In the war against Antiochus, a great and important war, when Asia had fallen by lot to Lucius Scipio as his province, and when he was thought to have hardly spirit and hardly vigour enough for it, and when the senate was inclined to entrust the business to his colleague Caius Laelius, the father of this Laelius, who was surnamed the Wise; Publius Africanus, the elder brother of Lucius Scipio, rose up, and entreated them not to cast such a slur on his family, and said that in his brother there was united the greatest possible valour, with the most consummate prudence, and that he too, notwithstanding his age, and all the exploits which he had performed, would attend his brother as his lieutenant. And after he had said this, nothing was changed in respect to Scipio's province, nor was any extraordinary command sought for any more in that war than in those two terrible Punic wars which had preceded it, which were carried on and conducted to their termination either by the consuls or by dictators, or than in the war with Pyrrhus, or in that with Philippus, or afterwards in the Achaean war, or in the third Punic war, for which last the Roman people took great care to select a suitable general, Publius Scipio, but at the same time it appointed him to the consulship in order to conduct it.
VIII. War was to be waged against Aristonicus in the consulship of Publius Licunius and Lucius Valerius. The people was consulted as to whom it wished to have the management of that war. Crassus, the consul and Pontifex Maximus, threatened to impose a fine upon Flaccus his colleague the priest of Mars, if he deserted the sacrifices. And though the people remitted the fine, still they ordered the priest to submit to the commands of the pontiff. But even then the Roman people did not commit the management of the war to a private individual, although there was Africanus, who the year before had celebrated a triumph over the people of Numantia, and who was far superior to all men in martial renown and military skill; yet he only gained the votes of two tribunes. And accordingly the Roman people entrusted the management of the war to Crassus the consul rather than to the private individual Africanus. As to the commands given to Cnaeus Pompeius, that most illustrious man, that first of men, they were carried by some turbulent tribunes of the people. For the war against Sertorius was only given by the senate to a private individual because the consuls refused it, when Lucius Philippus said that he sent the general in the place of the two consuls, not as proconsul.
What then is the object of these comitia? Or what is the meaning of this canvassing which that most wise and dignified citizen, Lucius Caesar, has introduced into the senate? He has proposed to vote a military command to one who is certainly a most illustrious and unimpeachable man, but still only a private individual. And by doing so he has imposed a heavy burden upon us. Suppose I agree, shall I by so doing countenance the introduction of the practice of canvassing into the senate house? Suppose I vote against it, shall I appear as if I were in the comitia to have refused an honour to a man who is one of my greatest friends? But if we are to have the comitia in the senate, let us ask for votes, let us canvass, let a voting tablet be given us, just as one is given to the people. Why do you, O Caesar, allow it to be so managed that either a most illustrious man, if your proposition be not agreed too, shall appear to have received a repulse, or else that one of us shall appear to have been passed over, if, while we are men of equal dignity, we are not considered worthy of equal honour?
But (for this is what I hear is said,) I myself gave by my own vote an extraordinary commission to Caius Caesar. Ay, indeed, for he had given me extraordinary protection, when I say me, I mean he had given it to the senate and to the Roman people. Was I to refuse giving an extraordinary military command to that man from whom the republic had received protection which had never even been thought of, but that still was of so much consequence that without it she could not have been safe? There were only the alternatives of taking his army from him, or giving him such a command. For on what principle or by what means can an army be retained by a man who has not been invested with any military command? We must not, therefore, think that a thing has been given to a man which has, in fact, not been taken away from him. You would, O conscript fathers, have taken a command away from Caius Caesar, if you had not given him one. The veteran soldiers, who, following his authority and command and name, had taken up arms in the cause of the republic, desired to be commanded by him. The Martial legion and the fourth legion had submitted to the authority of the senate, and had devoted themselves to uphold the dignity of the republic, in such a way as to feel that they had a right to demand Caius Caesar for their commander. It was the necessity of the war that invested Caius Caesar with military command, the senate only gave him the ensigns of it. But I beg you to tell me, O Lucius Caesar,—I am aware that I am arguing with a man of the greatest experience,—when did the senate ever confer a military command on a private individual who was in a state of inactivity, and doing nothing?
IX. However, I have been speaking hitherto to avoid the appearance of gratuitously opposing a man who is a great friend of mine, and who has showed me great kindness. Although, can one deny a thing to a person who not only does not ask for it, but who even refuses it? But, O conscript fathers, that proposition is unsuited to the dignity of the consuls, unsuited to the critical character of the times, namely, the proposition that the consuls, for the sake of pursuing Dolabella, shall have the provinces of Asia and Syria allotted to them. I will explain why it is inexpedient for the republic, but first of all, consider what ignominy it fixes on the consuls. When a consul elect is being besieged, when the safety of the republic depends upon his liberation, when mischievous and parricidal citizens have revolted from the republic, and when we are carrying on a war in which we are fighting for our dignity, for our freedom, and for our lives, and when, if any one falls into the power of Antonius, tortures and torments are prepared for him, and when the struggle for all these objects has been committed and entrusted to our most admirable and gallant consuls,—shall any mention be made of Asia and Syria so that we may appear to have given any injurious cause for others to entertain suspicion of us, or to bring us into unpopularity? They do indeed propose it, "after having liberated Brutus,"—for those were the last words of the proposal, say rather, after having deserted, abandoned, and betrayed him.
But I say that any mention whatever of any provinces has been made at a most unseasonable time. For although your mind, O Caius Pausa, be ever so intent, as indeed it is, on effecting the liberation of the most true and illustrious of all men, still the nature of things would compel you inevitably sometimes to turn your thoughts to the idea of pursuing Antonius, and to divert some portion of your care and attention to Asia and Syria. But if it were possible, I could wish you to have more minds than one, and yet to direct them all upon Mutina. But since that is impossible, I do wish you, with that most virtuous and all accomplished mind which you have got, to think of nothing but Brutus. And that indeed, is what you are doing; that is what you are especially striving at, but still no man can I will not say do two things, especially two most important things, at one time but he cannot even do entire justice to them both in his thoughts. It is our duty rather to spur on and inflame that excellent eagerness of yours, and not to transfer any portion of it to another object of care in a different direction.
X. Add to these considerations the way men talk, the way in which they nourish suspicion, the way in which they take dislikes. Imitate me whom you have always praised; for I rejected a province fully appointed and provided by the senate, for the purpose of discarding all other thoughts, and devoting all my efforts to extinguishing the conflagration that threatened to consume my country. There was no one except me alone, to whom, indeed, you would, in consideration of our intimacy, have been sure to communicate anything which concerned your interests, who would believe that the province had been decreed to you against your will. I entreat you, check, as is due to your eminent wisdom, this report, and do not seem to be desirous of that which you do not in reality care about. And you should take the more care of this point, because your colleague, a most illustrious man, cannot fall under the same suspicion. He knows nothing of all that is going on here, he suspects nothing, he is conducting the war, he is standing in battle array, he is fighting for his blood and for his life, he will hear of the province being decreed to him before he could imagine that there had been time for such a proceeding. I am afraid that our armies too, which have devoted themselves to the republic, not from any compulsory levy, but of their own voluntary zeal, will be checked in their ardour, if they suppose that we are thinking of anything but instant war.
But if provinces appear to the consuls as things to be desired, as they often have been desired by many illustrious men, first restore us Brutus, the light and glory of the state, whom we ought to preserve like that statue which fell from heaven, and is guarded by the protection of Vesta, which, as long as it is safe, ensures our safety also. Then we will raise you, if it be possible, even to heaven on our shoulders, unquestionably we will select for you the most worthy provinces. But at present let us apply ourselves to the business before us. And the question is, whether we will live as freemen, or die, for death is certainly to be preferred to slavery. What more need I say? Suppose that proposition causes delay in the pursuit of Dolabella? For when will the consul arrive? Are we waiting till there is not even a vestige of the towns and cities of Asia left? "But they will send some one of their officers"—That will certainly be a step that I shall quite approve of, I who just now objected to giving any extraordinary military command to even so illustrious a man if he were only a private individual. "But they will send a man worthy of such a charge." Will they send one more worthy than Publius Servilius? But the city has not such a man. What then he himself thinks ought to be given to no one, not even by the senate, can I approve of that being conferred by the decision of one man? We have need, O conscript fathers, of a man ready and prepared, and of one who has a military command legally conferred on him, and of one who, besides this, has authority, and a name, and an army, and a courage which has been already tried in his exertions for the deliverance of the republic.
XI Who then is that man? Either Marcus Brutus, or Caius Cassius, or both of them. I would vote in plain words, as there are many precedents for, one consul or both, if we had not already hampered Brutus sufficiently in Greece, and if we had not preferred having his reinforcement approach nearer to Italy rather than move further off towards Asia, not so much in order to receive succour ourselves from that army, as to enable that army to receive aid across the water. Besides, O conscript fathers, even now Caius Antonius is detaining Marcus Brutus, for he occupies Apollonia, a large and important city, he occupies, as I believe, Byllis, he occupies Amantia, he is threatening Epirus, he is pressing on Illyricum, he has with him several cohorts, and he has cavalry. If Brutus be transferred from this district to any other war, we shall at all events lose Greece. We must also provide for the safety of Brundusium and all that coast of Italy. Although I marvel that Antonius delays so long, for he is accustomed usually to put on his marching dress and not to endure the fear of a siege for any length of time. But if Brutus has finished that business, and perceives that he can better serve the republic by pursuing Dolabella than by remaining in Greece, he will act of his own head, as he has hitherto done, nor amid such a general conflagration will he wait for the orders of the senate when instant help is required. For both Brutus and Cassius have in many instances been a senate to themselves. For it is quite inevitable that in such a confusion and disturbance of all things men should be guided by the present emergency rather than by precedent. Nor will this be the first time that either Brutus or Cassius has considered the safety and deliverance of his country his most holy law and his most excellent precedent. Therefore, if there were no motion submitted to us about the pursuit of Dolabella, still I should consider it equivalent to a decree, when there were men of such a character for virtue, authority, and the greatest nobleness, possessing armies, one of which is already known to us, and the other has been abundantly heard of.
XII Brutus then, you may be sure, has not waited for our decrees, as he was sure of our desires. For he is not gone to his own province of Crete, he has flown to Macedonia, which belonged to another, he has accounted everything his own which you have wished to be yours, he has enlisted new legions, he has received old ones, he has gained over to his own standard the cavalry of Dolabella, and even before that man was polluted with such enormous parricide, he, of his own head, pronounced him his enemy. For if he were not one, by what right could he himself have tempted the cavalry to abandon the consul? What more need I say? Did not Caius Cassius, a man endowed with equal greatness of mind and with equal wisdom, depart from Italy with the deliberate object of preventing Dolabella from obtaining possession of Syria? By what law? By what right? By that which Jupiter himself has sanctioned, that everything which was advantageous to the republic should be considered legal and just.
For law is nothing but a correct principle drawn from the inspiration of the gods, commanding what is honest, and forbidding the contrary. Cassius, therefore, obeyed this law when he went into Syria, a province which belonged to another, if men were to abide by the written laws, but which, when these were trampled under foot, was his by the law of nature. But in order that they may be sanctioned by your authority also, I now give my vote, that,
"As Publius Dolabella, and those who have been the ministers of and accomplices and assistants in his cruel and infamous crime, have been pronounced enemies of the Roman people by the senate, and as the senate has voted that Publius Dolabella shall be pursued with war, in order that he who has violated all laws of men and gods by a new and unheard of and inexpiable wickedness and has committed the most infamous treason against his country, may suffer the punishment which is his due, and which he has well deserved at the hands of gods and men, the senate decrees that Caius Cassius, proconsul, shall have the government of Syria as one appointed to that province with all due form, and that he shall receive their armies from Quintus Marcus Crispus, proconsul, from Lucius Statius Murcus, proconsul, from Aulus Allienus, lieutenant, and that they shall deliver them up to him, and that he, with these troops and with any more which he may have got from other quarters, shall pursue Dolabella with war both by sea and land; that, for the sake of carrying on war, he shall have authority and power to buy ships, and sailors, and money, and whatever else may be necessary or useful for the carrying on of the war, in whatever places it seems fitting to him to do so, throughout Syria, Asia, Bithynia, and Pontus; and that, in whatever province he shall arrive for the purpose of carrying on that war, in that province as soon as Caius Cassius, proconsul, shall arrive in it, the power of Caius Cassius, proconsul, shall be superior to that of him who may be the regular governor of the province at the time. That king Deiotarus the father, and also king Deiotarus the son, if they assist Caius Cassius, proconsul, with their armies and treasures, as they have heretofore often assisted the generals of the Roman people, will do a thing which will be grateful to the senate and people of Rome; and that also, if the rest of the kings and tetrarchs and governors in those districts do the same, the senate and people of Rome will not be forgetful of their loyalty and kindness; and that Caius Pansa and Aulus Hirtius the consuls, one or both of them, as it seems good to them, as soon as they have re-established the republic, shall at the earliest opportunity submit a motion to this order about the consular and praetorian provinces; and that, in the meantime, the provinces should continue to be governed by those officers by whom they are governed at present, until a successor be appointed to each by a resolution of the senate."
XIII. By this resolution of the senate you will inflame the existing ardour of Cassius, and you will give him additional arms; for you cannot be ignorant of his disposition, or of the resources which he has at present. His disposition is such as you see; his resources, which you have heard stated to you, are those of a gallant and resolute man, who, even while Trebonius was alive, would not permit the piratical crew of Dolabella to penetrate into Syria. Allienus, my intimate friend and connexion, who went thither after the death of Trebonius, will not permit himself to be called the lieutenant of Dolabella. The army of Quintus Caecilius Bassus, a man indeed without any regular appointment, but a brave and eminent man, is vigorous and victorious. The army of Deiotarus the king, both father and son, is very numerous, and equipped in our fashion. Moreover, in the son there is the greatest hope, the greatest vigour of genius and a good disposition, and the most eminent valour. Why need I speak of the father, whose good-will towards the Roman people is coeval with his life; who has not only been the ally of our commanders in their wars, but has also served himself as the general of his own troops. What great things have Sylla, and Murena, and Servilius, and Lucullus said of that man; what complimentary, what honourable and dignified mention have they often made of him in the senate! Why should I speak of Cnaeus Pompeius, who considered Deiotarus the only friend and real well-wisher from his heart, the only really loyal man to the Roman people in the whole world? We were generals, Marcus Bibulus and I, in neighbouring provinces bordering on his kingdom; and we were assisted by that same monarch both with cavalry and infantry. Then followed this most miserable and disastrous civil war; in which I need not say what Deiotarus ought to have done, or what would have been the most proper course which he could have adopted, especially as victory decided for the party opposed to the wishes of Deiotarus. And if in that war he committed any error, he did so in common with the senate. If his judgment was the right one, then even though defeated it does not deserve to be blamed. To these resources other kings and other levies of troops will be added. Nor will fleets be wanting to us; so greatly do the Tyrians esteem Cassius, so mighty is his name in Syria and Phoenicia.
XIV. The republic, O conscript fathers, has a general ready against Dolabella, in Caius Cassius, and not ready only, but also skilful and brave. He performed great exploits before the arrival of Bibulus, a most illustrious man, when he defeated the most eminent generals of the Parthians and their innumerable armies, and delivered Syria from their most formidable invasion. I pass over his greatest and most extraordinary glory; for as the mention of it is not yet acceptable to every one, we had better preserve it in our recollection than by bearing testimony to it with our voice.
I have noticed, O conscript fathers, that some people have said before now, that even Brutus is too much extolled by me, that Cassius is too much extolled; and that by this proposition of mine absolute power and quite a principality is conferred upon Cassius. Whom do I extol? Those who are themselves the glory of the republic. What? have I not at all times extolled Decimus Brutus whenever I have delivered my opinion at all? Do you then find fault with me? or should I rather praise the Antonii, the disgrace and infamy not only of their own families, but of the Roman name? or should I speak in favour of Censorenus, an enemy in time of war, an assassin in time of peace? or should I collect all the other ruined men of that band of robbers? But I am so far from extolling those enemies of tranquility, of concord, of the laws, of the courts of justice, and of liberty, that I cannot avoid hating them as much as I love the republic. "Beware," says one, "how you offend the veterans." For this is what I am most constantly told. But I certainly ought to protect the rights of the veterans; of those at least who are well disposed; but surely I ought not to fear them. And those veterans who have taken up arms in the cause of the republic, and have followed Caius Caesar, remembering the kindnesses which they received from his father, and who at this day are defending the republic to their own great personal danger,—those I ought not only to defend, but to seek to procure additional advantages for them. But those also who remain quiet, such as the sixth and eighth legion, I consider worthy of great glory and praise. But as for those companions of Antonius, who after they have devoured the benefits of Caesar, besiege the consul elect, threaten this city with fire and sword, and have given themselves up to Saxa and Capho, men born for crime and plunder, who is there who thinks that those men ought to be defended? Therefore the veterans are either good men, whom we ought to load with distinctions, or quiet men, whom we ought to preserve, or impious ones, against whose frenzy we have declared war and taken up legitimate arms.
XV. Who then are the veterans whom we are to be fearful of offending? Those who are desirous to deliver Decimus Brutus from siege? for how can those men, to whom the safety of Brutus is dear, hate the name of Cassius? Or those men who abstain from taking arms on either side? I have no fear of any of those men who delight in tranquility becoming a mischievous citizen. But as for the third class, whom I call not veteran soldiers, but infamous enemies, I wish to inflict on them the most bitter pain. Although, O conscript fathers, how long are we to deliver our opinions as it may please the veterans? why are we to yield so much to their haughtiness? why are we to make their arrogance of such importance as to choose our generals with reference to their pleasure? But I (for I must speak, O conscript fathers, what I feel,) think that we ought not so much to regard the veterans, as to look at what the young soldiers, the flower of Italy—at what the new legions, most eager to effect the deliverance of their country—at what all Italy will think of your wisdom. For there is nothing which flourishes for ever. Age succeeds age. The legions of Caesar have flourished for a long time; but now those who are flourishing are the legions of Pansa, and the Legions of Hirtius, and the legions of the son of Caesar, and the legions of Plancus. They surpass the veterans in number, they have the advantage of youth, moreover, they surpass them also in authority. For they are engaged in waging that war which is approved of by all nations. Therefore, rewards have been promised to these latter. To the former they have been already paid,—let them enjoy them. But let these others have those rewards given to them which we have promised them. For that is what I hope that the immortal gods will consider just.
And as this is the case, I give my vote for the proposition which I have made to you, O conscript fathers, being adopted by you.
THE TWELFTH ORATION OF M T CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS. CALLED ALSO THE TWELFTH PHILIPPIC.
Decimus Brutus was in such distress in Mutina, that his friends began to be alarmed, fearing that, if he fell into the hands of Antonius, he would be treated as Trebonius had been. And, as the friends of Antonius gave out that he was now more inclined to come to terms with the senate, a proposition was made and supported by Pansa to send a second embassy to him. And even Cicero at first consented to it, and allowed himself to be nominated with Servilius and three other senators, all of consular rank, but on more mature reflection he was convinced that he had been guilty of a blunder, and that the object of Antonius and his friends was only to gain time for Ventidius to join him with his three legions. Accordingly, at the next meeting of the senate, he delivered the following speech, retracting his former sanction of the proposed embassy. And he spoke so strongly against it, that the measure was abandoned and Pansa soon afterwards marched with his army to join Hirtius and Octavius, with the intention of forcing Antonius to a battle.
I. Although, O conscript fathers it seems very unbecoming for that man whose counsels you have so often adopted in the most important affairs, to be deceived and deluded, and to commit mistakes, yet I console myself, since I made the mistake in company with you, and in company also with a consul of the greatest wisdom. For when two men of consular rank had brought us hope of an honorable peace, they appeared as being friends and extremely intimate with Marcus Antonius, to be aware of some weak point about him with which we were unacquainted. His wife and children are in the house of one, the other is known every day to send letters to, to receive letters from, and openly to favour Antonius.
These men, then, appeared likely to have some reason for exhorting us to peace, which they had done for some time. The consul, too, added the weight of his exhortation, and what a consul! If we look for prudence, one who was not easily to be deceived; if for virtue and courage, one who would never admit of peace unless Antonius submitted and confessed himself to be vanquished, if for greatness of mind, one who would prefer death to slavery. You, too, O conscript fathers, appeared to be induced to think not of accepting but of imposing conditions, not so much because you were forgetful of your most important and dignified resolutions, as because you had hopes suggested you of a surrender on the part of Antonius, which his friends preferred to call peace. My own hopes, and I imagine yours also, were increased by the circumstance of my hearing that the family of Antonius was overwhelmed with distress, and that his wife was incessantly lamenting. And in this assembly, too, I saw that the partisans, on whose countenance my eyes are always dwelling, looked more sorrowful than usual. And if that is not so, why on a sudden has mention been made of peace by Piso and Calenus of all people in the world, why at this particular moment, why so unexpectedly? Piso declares that he knows nothing, that he has not heard anything. Calenus declares that no news has been brought. And they make that statement now, after they think that we are involved in a pacific embassy. What need have we, then, of any new determination, if no new circumstances have arisen to call for one?
II. We have been deceived,—we have, I say, been deceived, O conscript fathers. It is the cause of Antonius that has been pleaded by his friends, and not the cause of the public. And I did indeed see that, though through a sort of mist, the safety of Decimus Brutus had dazzled my eyesight. But if in war, substitutes were in the habit of being given, I would gladly allow myself to be hemmed in, so long as Decimus Brutus might be released. But we were caught by this expression of Quintus Fufius; "Shall we not listen to Antonius, even if he retires from Mutina? Shall we not, even if he declares that he will submit himself to the authority of the senate?" It seemed harsh to say that. Thus it was that we were broken, we yielded. Does he then retire from Mutina? "I don't know." Is he obeying the senate? "I think so" says Calenus, "but so as to preserve his own dignity at the same time." You then, O conscript fathers, are to make great exertions for the express purpose of losing your own dignity, which is very great, and of preserving that of Antonius, which neither has nor can have any existence, and of enabling him to recover that by your conduct, which he has lost by his own. "But, however, that matter is not open for consideration now, an embassy has been appointed." But what is there which is not open for consideration to a wise man, as long as it can be remodelled? Any man is liable to a mistake; but no one but a downright fool will persist in error. For second thoughts, as people say, are best. The mist which I spoke of just now is dispelled, light has arisen, the case is plain—we see everything, and that not by our own acuteness, but we are warned by our friends.
You heard just now what was the statement made by a most admirable man. I found, said he, his house, his wife, his children, all in great distress. Good men marvelled at me, my friends blamed me for having been led by the hope of peace to undertake an embassy. And no wonder, O Publius Servilius. For by your own most true and most weighty arguments Antonius was stripped, I do not say of all dignity, but of even every hope of safety. Who would not wonder if you were to go as an ambassador to him? I judge by my own case, for with regard to myself I see how the same design as you conceived is found fault with. And are we the only people blamed? What? did that most gallant man speak so long and so precisely a little while ago without any reason? What was he labouring for, except to remove from himself a groundless suspicion of treachery? And whence did that suspicion arise? From his unexpected advocacy of peace, which he adopted all on a sudden, being taken in by the same error that we were.
But if an error has been committed, O conscript fathers, owing to a groundless and fallacious hope, let us return into the right road. The best harbour for a penitent is a change of intention.
III. For what, in the name of the immortal gods! what good can our embassy do to the republic? What good, do I say? What will you say if it will even do us harm? Will do us harm? What if it already has done us harm? Do you suppose that that most energetic and fearless desire shown by the Roman people for recovery of their liberty has been damped and weakened by hearing of this embassy for peace? What do you think the municipal towns feel? and the colonies? What do you think will be the feelings of all Italy? Do you suppose that it will continue to glow with the same zeal with which it burnt before to extinguish this common conflagration? Do we not suppose that those men will repent of having professed and displayed so much hatred to Antonius, who promised us money and arms, who devoted themselves wholly, body, heart, and soul, to the safety of the republic? How will Capua, which at the present time feels like a second Rome, approve of this design of yours? That city pronounced them impious citizens, cast them out, and kept them out. Antonius was barely saved from the hands of that city, which made a most gallant attempt to crush him. Need I say more? Are we not by these proceedings cutting the sinews of our own legions, for what man can engage with ardour in a war, when the hope of peace is suggested to him? Even that godlike and divine Martial legion will grow languid at and be cowed by the receipt of this news, and will lose that most noble title of Martial, their swords will fall to the ground, their weapons will drop from their hands. For, following the senate, it will not consider itself bound to feel more bitter hatred against Antonius than the senate.
I am ashamed for this legion, I am ashamed for the fourth legion, which, approving of our authority with equal virtue, abandoned Antonius, not looking upon him as their consul and general, but as an enemy and attacker of their country. I am ashamed for that admirable army which is made up of two armies, which has now been reviewed, and which has started for Mutina, and which, if it hears a word of peace, that is to say, of our fear, even if it does not return, will at all events halt. For who, when the senate recals him and sounds a retreat, will be eager to engage in battle?
IV. For what can be more unreasonable than for us to pass resolutions about peace without the knowledge of those men who wage the war? And not only without their knowledge, but even against their will? Do you think that Aulus Hirtius, that most illustrious consul, and that Carus Caesar, a man born by the especial kindness of the gods for this especial crisis, whose letters, announcing their hope of victory, I hold in my hand, are desirous of peace? leader; and still we cannot bear the countenances or support the language of those men who are left behind in the city out of their number. What do you think will be the result when such numbers force their way into the city at one time? when we have laid aside our arms and they have not laid aside theirs? Must we not be defeated for everlasting, in consequence of our own counsels?
Place before your eyes Marcus Antonius, as a man of consular rank, add to him Lucius, hoping to obtain the consulship, join to them all the rest, and those too not confined to our order, who are fixing then thoughts on honours and commands. Do not despise the Tiros, and the Numisii, or the Mustellae, or the Seii. A peace made with those men will not be peace, but a covenant of slavery. That was in admirable expression of Lucius Piso, a most honourable man, and one which has been deservedly praised by you O Pansa, not only in this order, but also in the assembly of the people. He said, that he would depart from Italy, and leave his household gods and his native home, if (but might the gods avert such a disaster!) Antonius overwhelmed the republic.
VII. I ask, therefore, of you, O Lucius Piso, whether you would not think the republic overwhelmed if so many men of such impiety, of such audacity, and such guilt, were admitted into it? Can you think that men whom we could hardly bear when they were not yet polluted with such parricidal treasons; will be able to be borne by the city now that they are immersed in every sort of wickedness? Believe me, we must either adopt your plan, and retire, depart, embrace a life of indigence and wandering, or else we must offer our throats to those robbers, and perish in our country. What has become, O Carus Pansa, of those noble exhortations of yours, by which the senate was roused, and the Roman people stimulated, not only hearing but also learning from you that there is nothing more disgraceful to a Roman than slavery? Was it for this that we assumed the garb of war, and took arms and roused up all the youth all over Italy, in order that while we had a most flourishing and numerous army, we might send ambassadors to treat for peace? If that peace is to be received by others, why do we not wait to be entreated for it? If our ambassadors are to beg it, what is it that we are afraid of? Shall I make one of this embassy, or shall I be mixed up with this design, in which, even if I should dissent from the rest of my colleagues, the Roman people will not know it? The result will be that if anything be granted or conceded, it will be my danger if Antonius commits any offences, since the power to commit them will seem to have been put in his hands by me.
But even if it had been proper to entertain any idea of peace with the piratical crew of Marcus Antonius, still I was the last person who ought to have been selected to negotiate such a peace. I never voted for sending ambassadors. Before the return of the last ambassadors I ventured to say, that peace itself, even if they did bring it, ought to be repudiated, since war would be concealed under the name of peace; I was the chief adviser of the adoption of the garb of war, I have invariably called that man a public enemy, when others have been calling him only an adversary, I have always pronounced this to be a war, while others have styled it only a tumult Nor have I done this in the senate alone; I have always acted in the same way before the people. Nor have I spoken against himself only, but also against the accomplices in and agents of his crimes, whether present here, or there with him. In short, I have at all times inveighed against the whole family and party of Antonius. Therefore, as those impious citizens began to congratulate one another the moment the hope of peace was presented to them, as if they had gained the victory, so also they abused me as unjust, they made complaints against me, they distrusted Servilius also, they recollected that Antonius had been damaged by his avowed opinions and propositions, they recollected that Lucius Caesar, though a brave and consistent senator, is still his uncle, that Calenus is his agent, that Piso is his intimate friend, they think that you yourself, O Pansa, though a most vigorous and fearless consul, are now become more mercifully inclined. Not that it really is so, or that it possibly can be so. But the fact of a mention of peace having been made by you, has given rise to a suspicion in the hearts of many, that you have changed your mind a little. The friends of Antonius are annoyed at my being included among these persons, and we must no doubt yield to them, since we have once begun to be liberal.
VIII. Let the ambassadors go, with all our good wishes, but let those men go at whom Antonius may take no offence. But if you are not anxious about what he may think, at all events. O conscript fathers, you ought to have some regard for me. At least spare my eyes, and make some allowance for a just indignation. For with what countenance shall I be able to behold, (I do not say, the enemy of my country, for my hatred of him on that score I feel in common with you all,) but how shall I bear to look upon that man who is my own most bitter personal enemy, as his most furious harangues against me plainly declare him? Do you think that I am so completely made of iron as to be able unmoved to meet him, or look at him? who lately, when in an assembly of the people he was making presents to those men who appeared to him the most audacious of his band of parricidal traitors, said that he gave my property to Petissius of Urbinum, a man who, after the shipwreck of a very splendid patrimony, was dashed against these rocks of Antonius. Shall I be able to bear the sight of Lucius Antonius? a man from whose cruelty I could not have escaped if I had not defended myself behind the walls and gates and by the zeal of my own municipal town. And this same Asiatic gladiator, this plunderer of Italy, this colleague of Lenti and Nucula, when he was giving some pieces of gold to Aquila the centurion, said that he was giving him some of my property. For, if he had said he was giving him some of his own, he thought that the eagle itself would not have believed it. My eyes cannot—my eyes, I say, will not bear the sight of Saxa, or Capho, or the two praetors, or the tribune of the people, or the two tribunes elect, or Bestia, or Trebellius, or Titus Plancus. I cannot look with equanimity on so many, and those such foul, such wicked enemies; nor is that feeling caused by any fastidiousness of mine, but by my affection for the republic. But I will subdue my feelings, and keep my own inclinations under restraint. If I cannot eradicate my most just indignation, I will conceal it. What? Do you not think, O Conscript fathers, that I should have some regard for my own life? But that indeed has never been an object of much concern to me, especially since Dolabella has acted in such a way that death is a desirable thing, provided it come without torments and tortures. But in your eyes and in those of the Roman people my life ought not to appear of no consequence. For I am a man,—unless indeed I am deceived in my estimate of myself,—who by my vigilance, and anxiety, by the opinions which I have delivered, and by the dangers too of which I have encountered great numbers, by reason of the most bitter hatred which all impious men bear me, have at least, (not to seem to say anything too boastful,) conducted myself so as to be no injury to the republic. And as this is the case, do you think that I ought to have no consideration for my own danger?
IX. Even here, when I was in the city and at home, nevertheless many attempts were made against me, in a place where I have not only the fidelity of my friends but the eyes also of the entire city to guard me. What do you think will be the case when I have gone on a journey, and that too a long one? Do you think that I shall have no occasion to fear plots then? There are three roads to Mutina, a place which my mind longs to see, in order that I may behold as speedily as possible that pledge of freedom of the Roman people Decimus Brutus, in whose embrace I would willingly yield up my parting breath, when all my actions for the last many months, and all my opinions and propositions have resulted in the end which I proposed to myself. There are, as I have said, three roads, the Flaminian road, along the Adriatic, the Aurelian road, along the Mediterranean coast, the Midland road, which is called the Cassian.