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The Orations of Cicero
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This Edition first published in 2016
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THE ORATOR OF M.T. CICERO.
THE FIRST PHILIPPIC.
When Julius, or, as he is usually called by Cicero Caius Caesar was slain on the 15th of March, A.U.C. 710, B.C. 44 Marcus Antonius was his colleague in the consulship, and he, being afraid that the conspirators might murder him too, (and it is said that they had debated among themselves whether they would or no) concealed himself on that day and fortified his house, till perceiving that nothing was intended against him, he ventured to appear in public the day following. Lepidus was in the suburbs of Rome with a regular army, ready to depart for the government of Spain, which had been assigned to him with a part of Gaul. In the night, after Caesar’s death he occupied the forum with his troops and thought of making himself master of the city, but Antonius dissuaded him from that idea and won him over to his views by giving his daughter in marriage to Lepidus’s son, and by assisting him to seize on the office of Pontifex Maximus, which was vacant by Caesar’s death.
To the conspirators he professed friendship, sent his son among them as a hostage of his sincerity, and so deluded them, that Brutus supped with Lepidus, and Cassius with Antonius. By these means he got them to consent to his passing a decree for the confirmation of all Caesar’s acts, without describing or naming them more precisely. At last, on the occasion of Caesar’s public funeral, he contrived so to inflame the populace against the conspirators, that Brutus and Cassius had some difficulty in defending their houses and their lives and he gradually alarmed them so much, and worked so cunningly on their fears that they all quitted Rome. Cicero also left Rome, disapproving greatly of the vacillation and want of purpose in the conspirators. On the first of June Antonius assembled the senate to deliberate on the affairs of the republic, and in the interval visited all parts of Italy. In the meantime young Octavius appeared on the stage; he had been left by Caesar, who was his uncle, the heir to his name and estate. He returned from Apollonia, in Macedonia, to Italy as soon as he heard of his uncle’s death, and arrived at Naples on the eighteenth of April, where he was introduced by Hirtius and Pansa to Cicero, whom he promised to be guided in all respects by his directions. He was now between eighteen and nineteen years of age.
He began by the representation of public spectacles and games in honour of Caesar’s victories. In the meantime Antonius, in his progress through Italy, was making great use of the decree confirming all Caesar’s acts, which he interpolated and forged in the most shameless manner. Among other things he restored Deiotarus to all his dominions, having been bribed to do so by a hundred millions of sesterces by the king’s agents, but Deiotarus himself, as soon as he heard of Caesar’s death, seized all his dominions by force. He also seized the public treasure which Caesar had deposited in the temple of Ops, amounting to above four millions and a half of our money, and with this he won over Dolabella, who had seized the consulship on the death of Caesar, and the greater part of the army.
At the end of May Cicero began to return towards Rome, in order to arrive there in time for the meeting of the senate on the first of June, but many of his friends dissuaded him from entering the city, and at last he determined not to appear in the senate on that day, but to make a tour in Greece, to assist him in which, Dolabella named him one of his lieutenants. Antonius also gave Brutus and Cassius commissions to buy corn in Asia and Sicily for the use of the republic, in order to keep them out of the city.
Meantime Sextus Pompeius, who was at the head of a considerable army in Spain, addressed letters to the consuls proposing terms of accommodation, which after some debate, and some important modifications, were agreed to, and he quitted Spain, and came as far as Marseilles on his road towards Rome.
Cicero having started for Greece was forced to put back by contrary winds, and returned to Velia on the seventeenth of August, where he had a long conference with Brutus, who soon after left Italy for his province of Macedonia, which Caesar had assigned him before his death, though Antonius now wished to compel him to exchange it for Crete. After this conference Cicero returned to Rome, where he was received with unexampled joy, immense multitudes thronging out to meet him, and to escort him into the city. He arrived in Rome on the last day of August. The next day the senate met, to which he was particularly summoned by Antonius, but he excused himself as not having recovered from the fatigue of his journey.
Antonius was greatly offended, and in his speech in the senate threatened openly to order his house to be pulled down, the real reason of Cicero’s absenting himself from the senate being, that the business of the day was to decree some new and extraordinary honours to Caesar, and to order supplications to him as a divinity, which Cicero was determined not to concur in, though he knew it would be useless to oppose them.
The next day also the senate met, and Antonius absented himself, but Cicero came down and delivered the following speech, which is the first of that celebrated series of fourteen speeches made in opposition to Antonius and his measures, and called Philippics from the orations of Demosthenes against Philip, to which the Romans were in the habit of comparing them.
I. Before, O conscript fathers, I say those things concerning the republic which I think myself bound to say at the present time, I will explain to you briefly the cause of my departure from, and of my return to the city. When I hoped that the republic was at last recalled to a proper respect for your wisdom and for your authority, I thought that it became me to remain in a sort of sentinelship, which was imposed upon me by my position as a senator and a man of consular rank. Nor did I depart anywhere, nor did I ever take my eyes off from the republic, from the day on which we were summoned to meet in the temple of Tellus, in which temple, I, as far as was in my power, laid the foundations of peace, and renewed the ancient precedent set by the Athenians, I even used the Greek word, which that city employed in those times in allaying discords, and gave my vote that all recollection of the existing dissensions ought to be effaced by everlasting oblivion.
The oration then made by Marcus Antonius was an admirable one, his disposition, too, appeared excellent, and lastly, by his means and by his sons’, peace was ratified with the most illustrious of the citizens, and everything else was consistent with this beginning. He invited the chief men of the state to those deliberations which he held at his own house concerning the state of the republic, he referred all the most important matters to this order. Nothing was at that time found among the papers of Caius Caesar except what was already well known to everybody, and he gave answers to every question that was asked of him with the greatest consistency. Were any exiles restored? He said that one was, and only one. Were any immunities granted? He answered, None. He wished us even to adopt the proposition of Servius Sulpicius, that most illustrious man, that no tablet purporting to contain any decree or grant of Caesar’s should be published after the Ides of March were expired. I pass over many other things, all excellent—for I am hastening to come to a very extraordinary act of virtue of Marcus Antonius. He utterly abolished from the constitution of the republic the Dictatorship, which had by this time attained to the authority of regal power. And that measure was not even offered to us for discussion. He brought with him a decree of the senate, ready drawn up, ordering what he chose to have done: and when it had been read, we all submitted to his authority in the matter with the greatest eagerness; and, by another resolution of the senate, we returned him thanks in the most honourable and complimentary language.
II. A new light, as it were, seemed to be brought over us, now that not only the kingly power which we had endured, but all fear of such power for the future, was taken away from us; and a great pledge appeared to have been given by him to the republic that he did wish the city to be free, when he utterly abolished out of the republic the name of dictator, which had often been a legitimate title, on account of our late recollection of a perpetual dictatorship. A few days afterwards the senate was delivered from the danger of bloodshed, and a hook was fixed into that runaway slave who had usurped the name of Caius Marius. And all these things he did in concert with his colleague. Some other things that were done were the acts of Dolabella alone; but, if his colleague had not been absent, would, I believe, have been done by both of them in concert.
For when enormous evil was insinuating itself into the republic, and was gaining more strength day by day; and when the same men were erecting a tomb in the forum, who had performed that irregular funeral; and when abandoned men, with slaves like themselves, were every day threatening with more and more vehemence all the houses and temples of the city; so severe was the rigour of Dolabella, not only towards the audacious and wicked slaves, but also towards the profligate and unprincipled freemen, and so prompt was his overthrow of that accursed pillar, that it seems marvellous to me that the subsequent time has been so different from that one day.
For behold, on the first of June, on which day they had given notice that we were all to attend the senate, everything was changed. Nothing was done by the senate, but many and important measures were transacted by the agency of the people, though that people was both absent and disapproving. The consuls elect said, that they did not dare to come into the senate. The liberators of their country were absent from that city from the neck of which they had removed the yoke of slavery; though the very consuls themselves professed to praise them in their public harangues and in all their conversation. Those who were called Veterans, men of whose safety this order had been most particularly careful, were instigated not to the preservation of those things which they had, but to cherish hopes of new booty. And as I preferred hearing of those things to seeing them, and as I had an honorary commission as lieutenant, I went away, intending to be present on the first of January, which appeared likely to be the first day of assembling the senate.
III. I have now explained to you, O conscript fathers, my design in leaving the city. Now I will briefly set before you, also, my intention in returning, which may perhaps appear more unaccountable. As I had avoided Brundusium, and the ordinary route into Greece, not without good reason, on the first of August I arrived at Syracuse, because the passage from that city into Greece was said to be a good one. And that city, with which I had so intimate a connexion, could not, though it was very eager to do so, detain me more than one night. I was afraid that my sudden arrival among my friends might cause some suspicion if I remained there at all. But after the winds had driven me, on my departure from Sicily, to Leucopetra, which is a promontory of the Rhegian district, I went up the gulf from that point, with the view of crossing over. And I had not advanced far before I was driven back by a foul wind to the very place which I had just quitted. And as the night was stormy, and as I had lodged that night in the villa of Publius Valerius, my companion and intimate friend, and as I remained all the nest day at his house waiting for a fair wind, many of the citizens of the municipality of Rhegium came to me. And of them there were some who had lately arrived from Rome; from them I first heard of the harangue of Marcus Antonius, with which I was so much pleased that, after I had read it, I began for the first time to think of returning. And not long afterwards the edict of Brutus and Cassius is brought to me; which (perhaps because I love those men, even more for the sake of the republic than of my own friendship for them) appeared to me, indeed, to be full of equity. They added besides, (for it is a very common thing for those who are desirous of bringing good news to invent something to make the news which they bring seem more joyful,) that parties were coming to an agreement; that the senate was to meet on the first of August; that Antonius having discarded all evil counsellors, and having given up the provinces of Gaul, was about to return to submission to the authority of the senate.
IV. But on this I was inflamed with such eagerness to return, that no oars or winds could be fast enough for me; not that I thought that I should not arrive in time, but lest I should be later than I wished in congratulating the republic; and I quickly arrived at Velia, where I saw Brutus; how grieved I was, I cannot express. For it seemed to be a discreditable thing for me myself, that I should venture to return into that city from which Brutus was departing, and that I should be willing to live safely in a place where he could not. But he himself was not agitated in the same manner that I was; for, being elevated with the consciousness of his great and glorious exploit, he had no complaints to make of what had befallen him, though he lamented your fate exceedingly. And it was from him that I first heard what had been the language of Lucius Piso, in the senate of August; who, although he was but little assisted (for that I heard from Brutus himself) by those who ought to have seconded him, still according to the testimony of Brutus, (and what evidence can be more trustworthy?) and to the avowal of every one whom I saw afterwards, appeared to me to have gained great credit. I hastened hither, therefore, in order that as those who were present had not seconded him, I might do so; not with the hope of doing any good, for I neither hoped for that, nor did I well see how it was possible; but in order that if anything happened to me, (and many things appeared to be threatening me out of the regular course of nature, and even of destiny,) I might still leave my speech on this day as a witness to the republic of my everlasting attachment to its interests.
Since, then, O conscript fathers, I trust that the reason of my adopting each determination appears praiseworthy to you, before I begin to speak of the republic, I will make a brief complaint of the injury which Marcus Antonius did me yesterday, to whom I am friendly, and I have at all times admitted having received some services from him which make it my duty to be so.
V. What reason had he then for endeavouring, with such bitter hostility, to force me into the senate yesterday? Was I the only person who was absent? Have you not repeatedly had thinner houses than yesterday? Or was a matter of such importance under discussion, that it was desirable for even sick men to be brought down? Hannibal, I suppose, was at the gates, or there was to be a debate about peace with Pyrrhus, on which occasion it is related that even the great Appius, old and blind as he was, was brought down to the senate-house. There was a motion being made about some supplications, a kind of measure when senators are not usually wanting, for they are under the compulsion, not of pledges, but of the influence of those men whose honour is being complimented, and the case is the same when the motion has reference to a triumph. The consuls are so free from anxiety at these times, that it is almost entirely free for a senator to absent himself if he pleases. And as the general custom of our body was well known to me, and as I was hardly recovered from the fatigue of my journey, and was vexed with myself, I sent a man to him, out of regard for my friendship to him, to tell him that I should not be there. But he, in the hearing of you all, declared that he would come with masons to my house; this was said with too much passion and very intemperately. For, for what crime is there such a heavy punishment appointed as that, that any one should venture to say in this assembly that he, with the assistance of a lot of common operatives, would pull down a house which had been built at the public expense in accordance with a vote of the senate? And who ever employed such compulsion as the threat of such an injury as to a senator? or what severer punishment has ever been he himself was unable to perform? As, in fact, he has failed to perform many promises made to many people. And a great many more of those promises have been found since his death, than the number of all the services which he conferred on and did to people during all the years that he was alive would amount to.
But all those things I do not change, I do not meddle with. Nay, I defend all his good acts with the greatest earnestness. Would that the money remained in the temple of Opis! Bloodstained, indeed, it may be, but still needful at these times, since it is not restored to those to whom it really belongs. Let that, however, be squandered too, if it is so written in his acts. Is there anything whatever that can be called so peculiarly the act of that man who, while clad in the robe of peace, was yet invested with both civil and military command in the republic, as a law of his? Ask for the acts of Gracchus, the Sempronian laws will be brought forward; ask for those of Sylla, you will have the Cornelian laws. What more? In what acts did the third consulship of Cnaeus Pompeius consist? Why, in his laws. And if you could ask Caesar himself what he had done in the city and in the garb of peace, he would reply that he had passed many excellent laws; but his memoranda he would either alter or not produce at all; or, if he did produce them, he would not class them among his acts. But, however, I allow even these things to pass for acts; at some things I am content to wink; but I think it intolerable that the acts of Caesar in the most important instances, that is to say, in his laws, are to be annulled for their sake.
VIII. What law was ever better, more advantageous, more frequently demanded in the best ages of the republic, than the one which forbade the praetorian provinces to be retained more than a year, and the consular provinces more than two? If this law be abrogated, do you think that the acts of Caesar are maintained? What? are not all the laws of Caesar respecting judicial proceedings abrogated by the law which has been proposed concerning the third decury? And are you the defenders of the acts of Caesar who overturn his laws? Unless, indeed, anything which, for the purpose of recollecting it, he entered in a note-book, is to be counted among his acts, and defended, however unjust or useless it may be; and that which he proposed to the people in the comitia centuriata and carried, is not to be accounted one of the acts of Caesar. But what is that third decury? The decury of centurions, says he. What? was not the judicature open to that order by the Julian law, and even before that by the Pompeian and Aurelian laws? The income of the men, says he, was exactly defined. Certainly, not only in the case of a centurion, but in the case, too, of a Roman knight. Therefore, men of the highest honour and of the greatest bravery, who have acted as centurions, are and have been judges. I am not asking about those men, says he. Whoever has acted as centurion, let him be a judge. But if you were to propose a law, that whoever had served in the cavalry, which is a higher post, should be a judge, you would not be able to induce any one to approve of that; for a man’s fortune and worth ought to be regarded in a judge. I am not asking about those points, says he; I am going to add as judges, common soldiers of the legion of Alaudae; for our friends say, that that is the only measure by which they can be saved. Oh what an insulting compliment it is to those men whom you summon to act as judges though they never expected it! For the effect of the law is, to make those men judges in the third decury who do not dare to judge with freedom. And in that how great, O ye immortal gods! is the error of those men who have desired that law. For the meaner the condition of each judge is, the greater will be the severity of judgment with which he will seek to efface the idea of his meanness; and he will strive rather to appear worthy of being classed in the honourable decuries, than to have deservedly ranked in a disreputable one.
IX. Another law was proposed, that men who had been condemned of violence and treason may appeal to the public if they please. Is this now a law, or rather an abrogation of all laws? For who is there at this day to whom it is an object that that law should stand? No one is accused under those laws; there is no one whom we think likely to be so accused. For measures which have been carried by force of arms will certainly never be impeached in a court of justice. But the measure is a popular one. I wish, indeed, that you were willing to promote any popular measure; for, at present, all the citizens agree with one mind and one voice in their view of its bearing on the safety of the republic.
What is the meaning, then, of the eagerness to pass the law which brings with it the greatest possible infamy, and no popularity at all? For what can be more discreditable than for a man who has committed treason against the Roman people by acts of violence, after he has been condemned by a legal decision, to be able to return to that very course of violence, on account of which he has been condemned? But why do I argue any more about this law? as if the object aimed at were to enable any one to appeal? The object is, the inevitable consequence must be, that no one can ever be prosecuted under those laws. For what prosecutor will be found insane enough to be willing, after the defendant has been condemned, to expose himself to the fury of a hired mob? or what judge will be bold enough to venture to condemn a criminal, knowing that he will immediately be dragged before a gang of hireling operatives? It is not, therefore, a right of appeal that is given by that law, but two most salutary laws and modes of judicial investigation that are abolished. And what is this but exhorting young men to be turbulent, seditious, mischievous citizens?
To what extent of mischief will it not be possible to instigate the frenzy of the tribunes now that these two rights of impeachment for violence and for treason are annulled? What more? Is not this a substitution of a new law for the laws of Caesar, which enact that every man who has been convicted of violence, and also every man who has been convicted of treason, shall be interdicted from fire and water? And, when those men have a right of appeal given them, are not the acts of Caesar rescinded? And those acts, O conscript fathers, I, who never approved of them, have still thought it advisable to maintain for the sake of concord, so that I not only did not think that the laws which Caesar had passed in his lifetime ought to be repealed, but I did not approve of meddling with those even which since the death of Caesar you have seen produced and published.
X. Men have been recalled from banishment by a dead man; the freedom of the city has been conferred, not only on individuals, but on entire nations and provinces by a dead man; our revenues have been diminished by the granting of countless exemptions by a dead man. Therefore, do we defend these measures which have been brought from his house on the authority of a single, but, I admit, a very excellent individual, and as for the laws which he, in your presence, read, and declared, and passed,—in the passing of which he gloried, and on which he believed that the safety of the republic depended, especially those concerning provinces and concerning judicial proceedings,—can we, I say, we who defend the acts of Caesar, think that those laws deserve to be upset?
And yet, concerning those laws which were proposed, we have, at all events, the power of complaining, but concerning those which are actually passed we have not even had that privilege. For they, without any proposal of them to the people, were passed before they were framed. Men ask, what is the reason why I, or why any one of you, O conscript fathers, should be afraid of bad laws while we have virtuous tribunes of the people? We have men ready to interpose their veto, ready to defend the republic with the sanctions of religion. We ought to be strangers to fear. What do you mean by interposing the veto? says he, what are all these sanctions of religion which you are talking about? Those, forsooth, on which the safety of the republic depends. We are neglecting those things, and thinking them too old-fashioned and foolish. The forum will be surrounded, every entrance of it will be blocked up, armed men will be placed in garrison, as it were, at many points. What then?—whatever is accomplished by those means will be law. And you will order, I suppose, all those regularly passed decrees to be engraved on brazen tablets “The consuls consulted the people in regular form,” (Is this the way of consulting the people that we have received from our ancestors?) “and the people voted it with due regularity” What people? that which was excluded from the forum? Under what law did they do so? under that which has been wholly abrogated by violence and arms? But I am saying all this with reference to the future, because it is the part of a friend to point out evils which may be avoided and if they never ensue, that will be the best refutation of my speech. I am speaking of laws which have been proposed, concerning which you have still full power to decide either way. I am pointing out the defects, away with them! I am denouncing violence and arms, away with them too!
XI. You and your colleague, O Dolabella, ought not, indeed, to be angry with me for speaking in defence of the republic. Although I do not think that you yourself will be; I know your willingness to listen to reason. They say that your colleague, in this fortune of his, which he himself thinks so good, but which would seem to me more favourable if (not to use any harsh language) he were to imitate the example set him by the consulship of his grandfathers and of his uncle,—they say that he has been exceedingly offended. And I see what a formidable thing it is to have the same man angry with me and also armed; especially at a time when men can use their swords with such impunity. But I will propose a condition which I myself think reasonable, and which I do not imagine Marcus Antonius will reject. If I have said anything insulting against his way of life or against his morals, I will not object to his being my bitterest enemy. But if I have maintained the same habits that I have already adopted in the republic,—that is, if I have spoken my opinions concerning the affairs of the republic with freedom,—in the first place, I beg that he will not be angry with me for that; but, in the next place, if I cannot obtain my first request, I beg at least that he will show his anger only as he legitimately may show it to a fellow-citizen.
Let him employ arms, if it is necessary, as he says it is, for his own defence: only let not those arms injure those men who have declared their honest sentiments in the affairs of the republic. Now, what can be more reasonable than this demand? But if, as has been said to me by some of his intimate friends, every speech which is at all contrary to his inclination is violently offensive to him, even if there be no insult in it whatever; then we will bear with the natural disposition of our friend. But those men, at the same time, say to me, “You will not have the same licence granted to you who are the adversary of Caesar as might be claimed by Piso his father-in-law.” And then they warn me of something which I must guard against; and certainly, the excuse which sickness supplies me with, for not coming to the senate, will not be a more valid one than that which is furnished by death.
XII. But, in the name of the immortal gods! for while I look upon you, O Dolabella, who are most dear to me, it is impossible for me to keep silence respecting the error into which you are both falling; for I believe that you, being both men of high birth, entertaining lofty views, have been eager to acquire, not money, as some too credulous people suspect, a thing which has at all times been scorned by every honourable and illustrious man, nor power procured by violence and authority such as never ought to be endured by the Roman people, but the affection of your fellow-citizens, and glory. But glory is praise for deeds which have been done, and the fame earned by great services to the republic; which is approved of by the testimony borne in its favour, not only by every virtuous man, but also by the multitude. I would tell you, O Dolabella, what the fruit of good actions is, if I did not see that you have already learnt it by experience beyond all other men.
What day can you recollect in your whole life, as ever having beamed on you with a more joyful light than the one on which, having purified the forum, having routed the throng of wicked men, having inflicted due punishment on the ringleaders in wickedness, and having delivered the city from conflagration and from fear of massacre, you returned to your house? What order of society, what class of people, what rank of nobles even was there who did not then show their zeal in praising and congratulating you? Even I, too, because men thought that you had been acting by my advice in those transactions, received the thanks and congratulations of good men in your name. Remember, I pray you, O Dolabella, the unanimity displayed on that day in the theatre, when every one, forgetful of the causes on account of which they had been previously offended with you, showed that in consequence of your recent service they had banished all recollection of their former indignation. Could you, O Dolabella, (it is with great concern that I speak,)—could you, I say, forfeit this dignity with equanimity?
XIII. And you, O Marcus Antonius, (I address myself to you, though in your absence,) do you not prefer that day on which the senate was assembled in the temple of Tellus, to all those months during which some who differ greatly in opinion from me think that you have been happy? What a noble speech was that of yours about unanimity! From what apprehensions were the veterans, and from what anxiety was the whole state relieved by you on that occasion! when, having laid aside your enmity against him, you on that day first consented that your present colleague should be your colleague, forgetting that the auspices had been announced by yourself as augur of the Roman people; and when your little son was sent by you to the Capitol to be a hostage for peace. On what day was the senate ever more joyful than on that day? or when was the Roman people more delighted? which had never met in greater numbers in any assembly whatever. Then, at last, we did appear to have been really delivered by brave men, because, as they had willed it to be, peace was following liberty On the next day, on the day after that, on the third day, and on all the following days, you went on without intermission giving every day, as it were, some fresh present to the republic, but the greatest of all presents was that, when you abolished the name of the dictatorship. This was in effect branding the name of the dead Caesar with everlasting ignominy, and it was your doing,—yours, I say. For as, on account of the wickedness of one Marcus Manlius, by a resolution of the Manlian family it is unlawful that any patrician should be called Manlius, so you, on account of the hatred excited by one dictator, have utterly abolished the name of dictator.
When you had done these mighty exploits for the safety of the republic, did you repent of your fortune, or of the dignity and renown and glory which you had acquired? Whence then is this sudden change? I cannot be induced to suspect that you have been caught by the desire of acquiring money; every one may say what he pleases, but we are not bound to believe such a thing; for I never saw anything sordid or anything mean in you. Although a man’s intimate friends do sometimes corrupt his natural disposition, still I know your firmness; and I only wish that, as you avoid that fault, you had been able also to escape all suspicion of it.
XIV. What I am more afraid of is lest, being ignorant of the true path to glory, you should think it glorious for you to have more power by yourself than all the rest of the people put together, and lest you should prefer being feared by your fellow-citizens to being loved by them. And if you do think so, you are ignorant of the road to glory. For a citizen to be dear to his fellow-citizens, to deserve well of the republic, to be praised, to be respected, to be loved, is glorious; but to be feared, and to be an object of hatred, is odious, detestable; and moreover, pregnant with weakness and decay. And we see that, even in the play, the very man who said,
“What care I though all men should hate my name,
So long as fear accompanies their hate?”
found that it was a mischievous principle to act upon.
I wish, O Antonius, that you could recollect your grand father of whom, however, you have repeatedly heard me speak. Do you think that he would have been willing to deserve even immortality, at the price of being feared in consequence of his licentious use of arms? What he considered life, what he considered prosperity, was the being equal to the rest of the citizens in freedom, and chief of them all in worth. Therefore, to say no more of the prosperity of your grandfather, I should prefer that most bitter day of his death to the domination of Lucius Cinna, by whom he was most barbarously slain.
But why should I seek to make an impression on you by my speech? For, if the end of Caius Caesar cannot influence you to prefer being loved to being feared, no speech of any one will do any good or have any influence with you; and those who think him happy are themselves miserable. No one is happy who lives on such terms that he may be put to death not merely with impunity, but even to the great glory of his slayer. Wherefore, change your mind, I entreat you, and look back upon your ancestors, and govern the republic in such a way that your fellow-citizens may rejoice that you were born; without which no one can be happy nor illustrious.
XV. And, indeed, you have both of you had many judgments delivered respecting you by the Roman people, by which I am greatly concerned that you are not sufficiently influenced. For what was the meaning of the shouts of the innumerable crowd of citizens collected at the gladiatorial games? or of the verses made by the people? or of the extraordinary applause at the sight of the statue of Pompeius? and at that sight of the two tribunes of the people who are opposed to you? Are these things a feeble indication of the incredible unanimity of the entire Roman people? What more? Did the applause at the games of Apollo, or, I should rather say, testimony and judgment there given by the Roman people, appear to you of small importance? Oh! happy are those men who, though they themselves were unable to be present on account of the violence of arms, still were present in spirit, and had a place in the breasts and hearts of the Roman people. Unless, perhaps, you think that it was Accius who was applauded on that occasion, and who bore off the palm sixty years after his first appearance, and not Brutus, who was absent from the games which he himself was exhibiting, while at that most splendid spectacle the Roman people showed their zeal in his favour though he was absent, and soothed their own regret for their deliverer by uninterrupted applause and clamour.
I myself, indeed, am a man who have at all times despised that applause which is bestowed by the vulgar crowd, but at the same time, when it is bestowed by those of the highest, and of the middle, and of the lowest rank, and, in short, by all ranks together, and when those men who were previously accustomed to aim at nothing but the favour of the people keep aloof, I then think that, not mere applause, but a deliberate verdict. If this appears to you unimportant, which is in reality most significant, do you also despise the fact of which you have had experience,—namely, that the life of Aulus Hirtius is so dear to the Roman people? For it was sufficient for him to be esteemed by the Roman people as he is; to be popular among his friends, in which respect he surpasses everybody; to be beloved by his own kinsmen, who do love him beyond measure; but in whose case before do we ever recollect such anxiety and such fear being manifested? Certainly in no one’s.
What, then, are we to do? In the name of the immortal gods, can you interpret these facts, and see what is their purport? What do you think that those men think of your lives, to whom the lives of those men who they hope will consult the welfare of the republic are so dear? I have reaped, O conscript fathers, the reward of my return, since I have said enough to bear testimony of my consistency whatever event may befall me, and since I have been kindly and attentively listened to by you. And if I have such opportunities frequently without exposing both myself and you to danger, I shall avail myself of them. If not, as far as I can I shall reserve myself not for myself, but rather for the republic. I have lived long enough for the course of human life, or for my own glory. If any additional life is granted to me, it shall be bestowed not so much on myself as on you and on the republic.
THE SECOND SPEECH OF M.T. CICERO AGAINST MARCUS ANTONIUS.
CALLED ALSO THE SECOND PHILIPPIC.
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This second speech was not actually spoken at all. Antonius was greatly enraged at the first speech, and summoned another meeting of the senate for the nineteenth day of the month, giving Cicero especial notice to be present, and he employed the interval in preparing an invective against Cicero, and a reply to the first Philippic. The senate met in the temple of Concord, but Cicero himself was persuaded not to attend by his friends, who were afraid of Antonius proceeding to actual violence against him, (and indeed he brought a strong guard of armed men with him to the senate) He spoke with the greatest fury against Cicero, charging him with having been the principal author and contriver of Caesar’s murder, hoping by this to inflame the soldiers, whom he had posted within hearing of his harangue.
Soon after this, Cicero removed to a villa near Naples for greater safety, and here he composed this second Philippic, which he did not publish immediately, but contented himself at first with sending a copy to Brutus and Cassius, who were much pleased with it.
I. To what destiny of mine, O conscript fathers, shall I say that it is owing, that none for the last twenty years has been an enemy to the republic without at the same time declaring war against me? Nor is there any necessity for naming any particular person; you yourselves recollect instances in proof of my statement. They have all hitherto suffered severer punishments than I could have wished for them; but I marvel that you, O Antonius, do not fear the end of those men whose conduct you are imitating. And in others I was less surprised at this. None of those men of former times was a voluntary enemy to me; all of them were attacked by me for the sake of the republic. But you, who have never been injured by me, not even by a word, in order to appear more audacious than Catiline, more frantic than Clodius, have of your own accord attacked me with abuse, and have considered that your alienation from me would be a recommendation of you to impious citizens.
What am I to think? that I have been despised? I see nothing either in my life, or in my influence in the city, or in my exploits, or even in the moderate abilities with which I am endowed, which Antonius can despise. Did he think that it was easiest to disparage me in the senate? a body which has borne its testimony in favour of many most illustrious citizens that they governed the republic well, but in favour of me alone, of all men, that I preserved it. Or did he wish to contend with me in a rivalry of eloquence? This, indeed, is an act of generosity; for what could be a more fertile or richer subject for me, than to have to speak in defence of myself, and against Antonius? This, in fact, is the truth. He thought it impossible to prove to the satisfaction of those men who resembled himself, that he was an enemy to his country, if he was not also an enemy to me. And before I make him any reply on the other topics of his speech, I will say a few words; respecting the friendship formerly subsisting between us, which he has accused me of violating,—for that I consider a most serious charge.
II. He has complained that I pleaded once against his interest. Was I not to plead against one with whom I was quite I unconnected, in behalf of an intimate acquaintance, of a dear friend? Was I not to plead against interest acquired not by hopes of virtue, but by the disgrace of youth? Was I not to plead against an injustice which that man procured to be done by the obsequiousness of a most iniquitous interposer of his veto, not by any law regulating the privileges of the praetor? But I imagine that this was mentioned by you, in order that you might recommend yourself to the citizens, if they all recollected that you were the son-in-law of a freedman, and that your children were the grandsons of Quintus Fadius a freedman.
But you had entirely devoted yourself to my principles; (for this is what you said;) you had been in the habit of coming to my house. In truth, if you had done so, you would more have consulted your own character and your reputation for chastity. But you did not do so, nor, if you had wished it, would Caius Curio have ever suffered you to do so. You have said, that you retired in my favour from the contest for the augurship. Oh the incredible audacity! oh the monstrous impudence of such an assertion! For, at the time when Cnaeus Pompeius and Quintus Hortensius named me as augur, after I had been wished for as such by the whole college, (for it was not lawful for me to be put in nomination by more than two members of the college,) you were notoriously insolvent, nor did you think it possible for your safety to be secured by any other means than by the destruction of the republic. But was it possible for you to stand for the augurship at a time when Curio was not in Italy? or even at the time when you were elected, could you have got the votes of one single tribe without the aid of Curio? whose intimate friends even were convicted of violence for having been too zealous in your favour.
III. But I availed myself of your friendly assistance. Of what assistance? Although the instance which you cite I have myself at all times openly admitted. I preferred confessing that I was under obligations to you, to letting myself appear to any foolish person not sufficiently grateful. However, what was the kindness that you did me? not killing me at Brundusium? Would you then have slain the man whom the conqueror himself, who conferred on you, as you used to boast, the chief rank among all his robbers, had desired to be safe, and had enjoined to go to Italy? Grant that you could have slain him, is not this, O conscript fathers, such a kindness as is done by banditti, who are contented with being able to boast that they have granted their lives to all those men whose lives they have not taken? and if that were really a kindness, then these who slew that man by whom they themselves had been saved, and whom you yourself are in the habit of styling most illustrious men, would never have acquired such immortal glory. But what sort of kindness is it, to have abstained from committing nefarious wickedness? It is a case in which it ought not to appear so delightful to me not to have been killed by you, as miserable, that it should have been in your power to do such a thing with impunity. However, grant that it was a kindness, since no greater kindness could be received from a robber, still in what point can you call me ungrateful? Ought I not to complain of the ruin of the republic, lest I should appear ungrateful towards you? But in that complaint, mournful indeed and miserable, but still unavoidable for a man of that rank in which the senate and people of Rome have placed me, what did I say that was insulting? that was otherwise than moderate? that was otherwise than friendly? and what instance was it not of moderation to complain of the conduct of Marcus Antonius, and yet to abstain from any abusive expressions? especially when you had scattered abroad all relics of the republic; when everything was on sale at your house by the most infamous traffic; when you confessed that those laws which had never been promulgated, had been passed with reference to you, and by you; when you, being augur, had abolished the auspices; being consul, had taken away the power of interposing the veto; when you were escorted in the most shameful manner by armed guards; when, worn out with drunkenness and debauchery, you were every day performing all sorts of obscenities in that chaste house of yours. But I, as if I had to contend against Marcus Crassus, with whom I have had many severe struggles, and not with a most worthless gladiator, while complaining in dignified language of the state of the republic, did not say one word which could be called personal. Therefore, to-day I will make him understand with what great kindness he was then treated by me.
IV. But he also read letters which he said that I had sent to him, like a man devoid of humanity and ignorant of the common usages of life. For who ever, who was even but slightly acquainted with the habits of polite men, produced in an assembly and openly read letters which had been sent to him by a friend, just because some quarrel had arisen between them? Is not this destroying all companionship in life, destroying the means by which absent friends converse together? How many jests are frequently put in letters, which, if they were produced in public, would appear stupid! How many serious opinions, which, for all that, ought not to be published! Let this be a proof of your utter ignorance of courtesy. Now mark, also, his incredible folly. What have you to oppose to me, O you eloquent man, as you seem at least to Mustela Tamisius, and to Tiro Numisius? And while these men are standing at this very time in the sight of the senate with drawn swords, I too will think you an eloquent man if you will show how you would defend them if they were charged with being assassins. However what answer would you make if I were to deny that I ever sent those letters to you? By what evidence could you convict me? by my handwriting? Of handwriting indeed you have a lucrative knowledge. How can you prove it in that manner? for the letters are written by an amanuensis. By this time I envy your teacher, who for all that payment, which I shall mention presently, has taught you to know nothing.
For what can be less like, I do not say an orator, but a man, than to reproach an adversary with a thing which if he denies by one single word, he who has reproached him cannot advance one step further? But I do not deny it; and in this very point I convict you not only of inhumanity but also of madness. For what expression is there in those letters which is not full of humanity and service and benevolence? and the whole of your charge amounts to this, that I do not express a bad opinion of you in those letters; that in them I wrote as to a citizen, and as to a virtuous man, not as to a wicked man and a robber. But your letters I will not produce, although I fairly might, now that I am thus challenged by you; letters in which you beg of me that you may be enabled by my consent to procure the recall of some one from exile; and you will not attempt it if I have any objection, and you prevail on me by your entreaties. For why should I put myself in the way of your audacity? when neither the authority of this body, nor the opinion of the Roman people, nor any laws are able to restrain you. However, what was the object of your addressing these entreaties to me, if the man for whom you were entreating was already restored by a law of Caesar’s? I suppose the truth was, that he wished it to be done by me as a favour; in which matter there could not be any favour done even by himself, if a law was already passed for the purpose.
V. But as, O conscript fathers, I have many things which I must say both in my own defence and against Marcus Antonius, one thing I ask you, that you will listen to me with kindness while I am speaking for myself; the other I will ensure myself, namely, that you shall listen to me with attention while speaking against him. At the same time also, I beg this of you; that if you have been acquainted with my moderation and modesty throughout my whole life, and especially as a speaker, you will not, when to-day I answer this man in the spirit in which he has attacked me, think that I have forgotten my usual character. I will not treat him as a consul, for he did not treat me as a man of consular rank; and although he in no respect deserves to be considered a consul, whether we regard his way of life, or his principle of governing the republic, or the manner in which he was elected, I am beyond all dispute a man of consular rank.
That, therefore, you might understand what sort of a consul he professed to be himself, he reproached me with my consulship;—a consulship which, O conscript fathers, was in name, indeed, mine, but in reality yours. For what did I determine, what did I contrive, what did I do, that was not determined, contrived, or done, by the counsel and authority and in accordance with the sentiments of this order? And have you, O wise man, O man not merely eloquent, dared to find fault with these actions before the very men by whose counsel and wisdom they were performed? But who was ever found before, except Publius Clodius, to find fault with my consulship? And his fate indeed awaits you, as it also awaited Caius Curio; since that is now in your house which was fatal to each of them.
Marcus Antonius disapproves of my consulship; but it was approved of by Publius Servilius—to name that man first of the men of consular rank who had died most recently. It was approved of by Quintus Catulus, whose authority will always carry weight in this republic; it was approved of by the two Luculli, by Marcus Crassus, by Quintus Hortensius, by Caius Curio, by Caius Piso, by Marcus Glabrio, by Marcus Lepidus, by Lucius Volcatius, by Caius Figulus, by Decimus Silanus and Lucius Murena, who at that time were the consuls elect; the same consulship also which was approved of by those men of consular rank, was approved of by Marcus Cato; who escaped many evils by departing from this life, and especially the evil of seeing you consul. But, above all, my consulship was approved of by Cnaeus Pompeius, who, when he first saw me, as he was leaving Syria, embracing me and congratulating me, said, that it was owing to my services that he was about to see his country again. But why should I mention individuals? It was approved of by the senate, in a very full house, so completely, that there was no one who did not thank me as if I had been his parent, who did not attribute to me the salvation of his life, of his fortunes, of his children, and of the republic.
VI. But, since the republic has been now deprived of those men whom I have named, many and illustrious as they were, let us come to the living, since two of the men of consular rank are still left to us: Lucius Cotta, a man of the greatest genius and the most consummate prudence, proposed a supplication in my honour for those very actions with which you find fault, in the most complimentary language, and those very men of consular rank whom I have named, and the whole senate, adopted his proposal; an honour which has never been paid to any one else in the garb of peace from the foundation of the city to my time. With what eloquence, with what firm wisdom, with what a weight of authority did Lucius Caesar your uncle, pronounce his opinion against the husband of his own sister, your stepfather. But you, when you ought to have taken him as your adviser and tutor in all your designs, and in the whole conduct of your life, preferred being like your stepfather to resembling your uncle. I, who had no connexion with him, acted by his counsels while I was consul. Did you, who were his sister’s son, ever once consult him on the affairs of the republic?
But who are they whom Antonius does consult? O ye immortal gods, they are men whose birthdays we have still to learn. To-day Antonius is not coming down. Why? He is celebrating the birthday feast at his villa. In whose honour? I will name no one. Suppose it is in honour of some Phormio, or Gnatho, or even Ballio. Oh the abominable profligacy of the man! Oh how intolerable is his impudence, his debauchery, and his lust! Can you, when you have one of the chiefs of the senate, a citizen of singular virtue, so nearly related to you, abstain from ever consulting him on the affairs of the republic, and consult men who have no property whatever of their own, and are draining yours?
VII. Yes, your consulship, forsooth, is a salutary one for the state, mine a mischievous one. Have you so entirely lost all shame as well as all chastity, that you could venture to say this in that temple in which I was consulting that senate which formerly in the full enjoyment of its honours presided over the world? And did you place around it abandoned men armed with swords? But you have dared besides (what is there which you would not dare?) to say that the Capitoline Hill, when I was consul, was full of armed slaves. I was offering violence to the senate, I suppose, in order to compel the adoption of those infamous decrees of the senate. O wretched man, whether those things are not known to you, (for you know nothing that is good,) or whether they are, when you dare to speak so shamelessly before such men! For what Roman knight was there, what youth of noble birth except you, what man of any rank or class who recollected that he was a citizen, who was not on the Capitoline Hill while the senate was assembled in this temple? who was there, who did not give in his name? Although there could not be provided checks enough, nor were the books able to contain their names.
In truth, when wicked men, being compelled by the revelations of the accomplices, by their own handwriting, and by what I may almost call the voices of their letters, were confessing that they had planned the parricidal destruction of their country, and that they had agreed to burn the city, to massacre the citizens, to devastate Italy, to destroy the republic; who could have existed without being roused to defend the common safety? especially when the senate and people of Rome had a leader then; and if they had one now like he was then, the same fate would befall you which did overtake them.