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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



9460
Pliny The Younger, Letters, 1.20


nanTo Cornelius Tacitus: I am constantly having arguments with a friend of mine who is a learned and practised speaker, but who admires in pleading nothing so much as brevity. I allow that brevity ought to be observed, if the case permits of it; but sometimes it is an act of collusion to pass over matters that ought to be mentioned, and it is even an act of collusion to run briefly and rapidly over points which ought to be dwelt upon, to be thoroughly driven home, and to be taken up and dealt with more than once. For very often an argument acquires strength and weight by being handled at some length, and a speech ought to be impressed on the mind, not by a short, sharp shock, but by measured blows, just as a sword should be used in dealing with the body of an opponent. Thereupon he plies me with authorities, and flourishes before me the speeches of Lysias among the Greeks, and those of the Gracchi and Cato from among Roman orators. The majority of these are certainly characterised by conciseness and brevity, but I quote against Lysias the examples of Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides, and a multitude of others, while against the Gracchi and Cato I set Pollio, Caesar, Caelius, and, above all, Marcus Tullius, whose longest speech is generally considered to be his best. And upon my word, as with all other good things, the more there is of a good book, the better it is. You know how it is with statues, images, pictures, and the outlines of many animals and even trees, that if they are at all graceful nothing gives them a greater charm than size. It is just the same with speeches, — even the mere volumes themselves acquire a certain additional dignity and beauty from mere bulk.


nanTo Cornelius Tacitus. I am constantly having arguments with a friend of mine who is a learned and practised speaker, but who admires in pleading nothing so much as brevity. I allow that brevity ought to be observed, if the case permits of it; but sometimes it is an act of collusion to pass over matters that ought to be mentioned, and it is even an act of collusion to run briefly and rapidly over points which ought to be dwelt upon, to be thoroughly driven home, and to be taken up and dealt with more than once. For very often an argument acquires strength and weight by being handled at some length, and a speech ought to be impressed on the mind, not by a short, sharp shock, but by measured blows, just as a sword should be used in dealing with the body of an opponent. Thereupon he plies me with authorities, and flourishes before me the speeches of Lysias among the Greeks, and those of the Gracchi and Cato from among Roman orators. The majority of these are certainly characterised by conciseness and brevity, but I quote against Lysias the examples of Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides, and a multitude of others, while against the Gracchi and Cato I set Pollio, Caesar, Caelius, and, above all, Marcus Tullius, whose longest speech is generally considered to be his best. * And upon my word, as with all other good things, the more there is of a good book, the better it is. You know how it is with statues, images, pictures, and the outlines of many animals and even trees, that if they are at all graceful nothing gives them a greater charm than size. It is just the same with speeches, - even the mere volumes themselves acquire a certain additional dignity and beauty from mere bulk. These are but a few of the many arguments I usually employ to establish my point; but there is no pinning my friend down in an argument. He is such a slippery fellow that he wriggles off the pin and declares that these same orators, whose speeches I instance, spoke at less length than their published addresses seem to show. I hold the contrary to be the case, and there are many speeches of many orators in favour of my opinion, as, for example, the 'Pro Murena' and the 'Pro Vareno' of Cicero, in which he indicates by headings alone, and quite barely and briefly, how he dealt with certain charges against his clients. From these it is clear that he actually spoke at much greater length and left out a considerable number of passages when he published the addresses. Cicero indeed says that in his defence of Cluentius "he had simply followed the ancient custom and compressed his whole case into a peroration," and that in defending Caius Cornelius "he had pleaded for four days." ** Hence it cannot be questioned that after speaking somewhat discursively for several days, as he was bound to do, he subsequently trimmed and revised his oration and compressed it into a single book - a long one, it is true, but yet a single book. But, argues my friend, a good indictment is a different thing from a good speech. I know some people hold that view, but I - of course I may be wrong - feel persuaded that though it is possible to have a good indictment without a good speech, it is not possible for a good speech not to be a good indictment. For a speech is the exemplar of an indictment - one might even call it its archetype. Hence in every first-class oration we find a thousand extempore figures of speech, even in those which we know to have been carefully edited. For example, in the Speech against Verres Regulus once said to me when we were in Court together Nor do I forget that in his eulogy of that consummate orator, Pericles, the comedy-writer Eupolis used the following language But, you say, the mean is the best. Quite so, but the mean is as much neglected by those who fail to do justice to their subject as by those who overdo it, by those who restrain themselves as by those who give themselves their heads. And so you often hear the criticism that a speech was "frigid and weak," just as you hear that another was "overloaded and a mass of repetition." The one speaker is said to have over-elaborated his subject, the other not to have risen to the occasion. Both are at fault; one through weakness, the other through too much strength, and the latter, though he may not show the more refined intellect, certainly shows the more robust mind. When I say this it must not be supposed that I am approving Homer's Thersites - the man who was a torrent of words - but rather his Ulysses, whose "words were like snow-flakes in winter," though at the same time I admire his Menelaus, who spoke "Few words, but well to the point." Yet, if I had to choose, I should prefer the speech that is like the winter snow- storm - viz. fluent, flowing, and of generous width; and not only that, but divine and celestial. It may, I know, be said that many people prefer a short pleading. No doubt, but they are lazy creatures, and it is ridiculous to consult the tastes of such sloths as though they were critics. For if you take their opinion as worth anything, you will find that they not only prefer a short pleading, but no pleading at all. Well, I have told you what I think. I shall change my opinion if you do not agree with me, but in that case I beg of you to give me clear reasons for your disagreement; for although I feel bound to bow to a man of your judgment, yet in a point of such importance, I consider that I ought to give way rather to a reasoned statement than to an ipse dixit. But even if you think I am right, still write and tell me so, and make the letter as short as you like - for you will thus confirm my judgment. If I am wrong, see that you write me a very long letter. I feel sure I have not estimated you wrongly in thus asking you for a short note if you agree with me, while laying on you the obligation of writing at length if you disagree. Farewell.


Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

5 results
1. Cicero, De Oratore, 1.150 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.150. vere enim etiam illud dicitur, perverse dicere homines perverse dicendo facillime consequi. Quam ob rem in istis ipsis exercitationibus, etsi utile est etiam subito saepe dicere, tamen illud utilius, sumpto spatio ad cogitandum paratius atque accuratius dicere. Caput autem est, quod, ut vere dicam, minime facimus (est enim magni laboris, quem plerique fugimus), quam plurimum scribere. Stilus optimus et praestantissimus dicendi effector ac magister; neque iniuria; nam si subitam et fortuitam orationem commentatio et cogitatio facile vincit, hanc ipsam profecto adsidua ac diligens scriptura superabit.
2. Cicero, Pro Sestio, 101, 106, 109-111, 114, 116-117, 120-124, 126, 130-132, 135, 137, 139, 96-100 (2nd cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3. Quintilian, Institutes of Oratory, 12.10.50-12.10.51 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

12.10.50.  and, further, that actual pleading is characterised by a greater energy and by the employment, almost verging on licence, of every artifice designed to please, since the minds of an uneducated audience require to be moved and led. On the other hand, the written speech which is published as a model of style must be polished and filed and brought into conformity with the accepted rules and standards of artistic construction, since it will come into the hands of learned men and its art will be judged by artists. 12.10.51.  These subtle teachers (for such they have persuaded themselves and others that they are) have laid it down that the παράδειγμα is best suited for actual speech and the ἐνθύμημα for writing. My own view is that there is absolutely no difference between writing well and speaking well, and that a written speech is merely a record of one that has actually been delivered. Consequently it must in my opinion possess every kind of merit, and note that I say merit, not fault. For I know that faults do sometimes meet with the approval of the uneducated.
4. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 1.5, 2.3, 2.11, 6.33, 7.6, 7.33, 9.13 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.5. To Voconius Romanus. Did you ever see a man more abject and fawning than Marcus Regulus has been since the death of Domitian? His misdeeds were better concealed during that prince's reign, but they were every bit as bad as they were in the time of Nero. He began to be afraid that I was angry with him and he was not mistaken, for I certainly was annoyed. After doing what he could to help those who were prosecuting Rusticus Arulenus, he had openly exulted at his death, and went so far as to publicly read and then publish a pamphlet in which he violently attacks Rusticus and even calls him "the Stoics' ape," adding that "he is marked with the brand of Vitellius." * You recognise, of course, the Regulian style! He tears to pieces Herennius Senecio so savagely that Metius Carus said to him, "What have you to do with my dead men? Did I ever worry your Crassus or Camerinus?" - these being some of Regulus's victims in the days of Nero. Regulus thought I bore him malice for this, and so he did not invite me when he read his pamphlet. Besides, he remembered that he once mortally attacked me in the court of the centumviri. ** I was a witness on behalf of Arionilla, the wife of Timon, at the request of Rusticus Arulenus, and Regulus was conducting the prosecution. We on our side were relying for part of the defence on a decision of Metius Modestus, an excellent man who had been banished by Domitian and was at that moment in exile. This was Regulus's opportunity. "Tell me, Secundus," said he, "what you think of Modestus." You see in what peril I should have placed myself if I had answered that I thought highly of him, and how disgraceful it would have been if I had said that I thought ill of him. I fancy it must have been the gods who came to my rescue. "I will tell you what I think of him," I said, "when the Court has to give a decision on the point." He returned to the charge Well, now the fellow is conscience-stricken, and buttonholes first Caecilius Celer and then implores Fabius Justus to reconcile me to him. Not content with that, he makes his way in to see Spurinna, and begs and prays of him - you know what an abject coward he is when he is frightened - as follows. "Do go," says he, "and call on Pliny in the morning - early in the morning, for my suspense is unbearable - and do what you can to remove his anger against me." I was early awake that day, when a message came from Spurinna, "I am coming to see you." I sent back word, "I will come and see you." We met at the portico of Livia, just as we were each of us on the way to see the other. He explained his commission from Regulus and added his own entreaties, but did not press the point too strongly, as became a worthy gentleman asking a favour for a worthless acquaintance. This was my answer That practically closed the conversation. I did not wish it to go any further, so that I might not commit myself until Mauricus arrived. Moreover, I am quite aware that Regulus is a difficult bird to net. He is rich, he is a shrewd intriguer, he has no inconsiderable body of followers and a still larger circle of those who fear him, and fear is often a more powerful factor than affection. But, after all, these are bonds that may be shattered and weakened, for a bad man's influence is as little to be relied upon as is the man himself. Moreover, let me repeat that I am waiting for Mauricus. He is a man of sound judgment and sagacity, which he has learned by experience, and he can gauge what is likely to happen in the future from what has occurred in the past. I shall be guided by him, and either strike a blow or set aside my weapons just as he thinks best. I have written you this letter because it is only right, considering our regard for one another, that you should be acquainted not only with what I have said and done, but also with my plans for the future. Farewell. 2.3. To Nepos. Isaeus's reputation - and it was a great one - had preceded him to Rome, * but it was found to fall short of his merits. He has consummate oratorical power, fluency and choice of expression, and though he always speaks extempore his speeches might have been carefully written out long beforehand. He speaks in Greek, and that the purest Attic; his prefatory remarks are polished, neat and agreeable, and occasionally stately and sparkling. He asks to be supplied with a number of subjects for discussion, and allows his audience to choose which they will have and often which side they would like him to take. Then he rises to his feet, wraps his gown round him, and begins. Without losing a moment he has everything at his fingers' ends, irrespective of the subject selected. Deep thoughts come crowding into his mind and words flow to his lips. And such words - exquisitely choice! Every now and then there come flashes which show how widely he has read and how much he has written. He opens his case to the point; he states his position clearly; his arguments are incisive; his conclusions are forcible; his word-painting is magnificent. In a word, he instructs, delights, and impresses his hearers, so that you can hardly say wherein he most excels. He makes constant use of rhetorical arguments, ** his syllogisms are crisp and finished - though that is not an easy matter to attain even with a pen. He has a wonderful memory and can repeat, without missing a single word, even his extempore speeches. He has attained this facility by study and constant practice, for he does nothing else day or night Consequently, I look upon Isaeus not only as a wonderfully learned man but as one who possesses a most enviable lot, and you must be made of flint and iron if you do not burn to make his acquaintance. So if there is nothing else to draw you here, if I myself am not a sufficient attraction, do come to hear Isaeus. Have you never read of the man who lived at Gades who was so fired by the name and glory of Titus Livius that he came from the remotest corner of the world to see him, and returned the moment he had set eyes on him? It would stamp a man as an illiterate boor and a lazy idler, it would be disgraceful almost for any one not to think the journey worth the trouble when the reward is a study which is more delightful, more elegant, and has more of the humanities than any other. You will say 0 2.11. To Arrianus. I know you are always delighted when the senate behaves in a way befitting its rank, for though your love of peace and quiet has caused you to withdraw from Rome, your anxiety that public life should be kept at a high level is as strong as it ever was. So let me tell you what has been going on during the last few days. The proceedings are memorable owing to the commanding position of the person most concerned; they will have a healthy influence because of the sharp lesson that has been administered; and the importance of the case will make them famous for all time. Marius Priscus, on being accused by the people of Africa, whom he had governed as proconsul, declined to defend himself before the senate and asked to have judges assigned to hear the case. * Cornelius Tacitus and myself were instructed to appear for the provincials, and we came to the conclusion that we were bound in honesty to our clients to notify the senate that the charges of inhumanity and cruelty brought against Priscus were too serious to be heard by a panel of judges, inasmuch as he was accused of having received bribes to condemn and even put to death innocent persons. Fronto Catius spoke in reply, and urged that the prosecution should be confined within the law dealing with extortion Well, the witnesses who were summoned came to Rome, viz., Vitellius Honoratus and Flavius Martianus. Honoratus was charged with having bribed Priscus to the tune of three hundred thousand sesterces to exile a Roman knight and put seven of his friends to death; Martianus was accused of having given Priscus seven hundred thousand sesterces to sentence a single Roman knight to still more grievous punishment, for he was beaten with rods, condemned to the mines, and then strangled in prison. Honoratus - luckily for him - escaped the investigation of the senate by dying; Martianus was brought before them when Priscus was not present. Consequently Tuccius Cerealis, a man of consular rank, pleaded senatorial privileges and demanded that Priscus should be informed of the attendance of Martianus, either because he thought that Priscus by being present would have a better chance of awakening the compassion of the senate or to increase the feeling against him, or possibly, and I think this was his real motive, because strict justice demanded that both should defend themselves against a charge that affected them both, and that both should be punished if they could not rebut the accusation. The subject was postponed to the next meeting of the senate, and a very august assembly it was. The Emperor presided in his capacity as consul; besides, the month of January brings crowds of people to Rome and especially senators, † and moreover the importance of the case, the great notoriety it had obtained, which had been increased by the delays that had taken place, and the ingrained curiosity of all men to get to know all the details of an unusually important matter, had made everybody flock to Rome from all quarters. You can imagine how nervous and anxious we were in having to speak in such a gathering and in the presence of the Emperor on such an important case. It was not the first time that I had pleaded in the senate, and there is nowhere where I get a more sympathetic hearing, but then the novelty of the whole position seemed to afflict me with a feeling of nervousness I had never felt before. For in addition to all that I have mentioned above I kept thinking of the difficulties of the case and was oppressed by the feeling that Priscus, the defendant, had once held consular rank and been one of the seven regulators of the sacred feasts, and was now deprived of both these dignities. † So I found it a very trying task to accuse a man on whom sentence had already been passed, for though the shocking offences with which he was charged weighed heavily against him, he yet was protected to a certain extent by the commiseration felt for a man already condemned to punishment that one might have thought final. However, as soon as I had pulled myself together and collected my thoughts, I began my address, and though I was nervous I was on the best of terms with my audience. I spoke for nearly five hours, for, in addition to the twelve water-clocks - the largest I could get - which had been assigned to me, I obtained four others. And, as matters turned out, everything that I thought before speaking would have proved an obstacle in the way of a good speech really helped me during my address. As for the Emperor, he showed me such kind attention and consideration - for it would be too much to call it anxiety on my behalf - that he frequently nodded to my freedman, who was standing just behind me, to give me a hint not to overtax my voice and lungs, when he thought that I was throwing myself too ardently into my pleading and imposing too great a burden on my slender frame. Claudius Marcellinus answered me on behalf of Martianus, and then the senate was dismissed and met again on the following day. For there was no time to begin a fresh speech, as it would have had to be broken off by the fall of night. On the following day, Salvius Liberalis, a man of shrewd wit, careful in the arrangement of his speeches, with a pointed style and a fund of learning, spoke for Marius, and in his speech he certainly brought out all he knew. Cornelius Tacitus replied to him in a wonderfully eloquent address, characterised by that lofty dignity which is the chief charm of his oratory. Then Fronto Catius made another excellent speech on Marius's behalf, and he spent more time in appeals for mercy than in rebutting evidence, as befitted the part of the case that he had then to deal with. The fall of night terminated his speech but did not break it off altogether, and so the proceedings lasted over into the third day. This was quite fine and just like it used to be for the senate to be interrupted by nightfall, and for the members to be called and sit for three days running. Cornutus Tertullus, the consul-designate, a man of high character and a devoted champion of justice, gave as his opinion that the seven hundred thousand sesterces which Marius had received should be confiscated to the Treasury, that Marius should be banished from Rome and Italy, and that Martianus should be banished from Rome, Italy, and Africa. Towards the conclusion of his speech he added the remark that the senate considered that, since Tacitus and myself, who had been summoned to plead for the provincials, had fulfilled our duties with diligence and fearlessness, we had acted in a manner worthy of the commission entrusted to us. The consuls-designate agreed, and all the consulars did likewise, until it was Pompeius Collega's turn to speak. He proposed that the seven hundred thousand sesterces received by Marius should be confiscated to the Treasury, that Martianus should be banished ‡ for five years, and that Marius should suffer no further penalty than that for extortion - which had already been passed upon him. Opinion was largely divided, and there was possibly a majority in favour of the latter proposal, which was the more lenient or less severe of the two, for even some of those who appeared to have supported Cornutus changed sides and were ready to vote for Collega, who had spoken after them. But when the House divided, those who stood near the seats of the consuls began to cross over to the side of Cornutus. Then those who were allowing themselves to be counted as supporters of Collega also crossed over, and Collega was left with a mere handful. He complained bitterly afterwards of those who had led him to make the proposal he did, especially of Regulus, who had failed to support him in the proposal that he himself had suggested. But Regulus is a fickle fellow, rash to a degree, yet a great coward as well. Such was the close of this most important investigation; but there is still another bit of public business on hand of some consequence, for Hostilius Firminus, the legate of Marius Priscus, who was implicated in the matter, had received a very rough handling. It was proved by the accounts of Martianus and a speech he made in the Council of the Town of Leptis that he had engaged with Priscus in a very shady transaction, that he had bargained to receive from Martianus 50,000 denarii and had received in addition ten million sesterces under the head of perfume money - a most disgraceful thing for a soldier, but one which was not at all inconsistent with his character as a man with well-trimmed hair and polished skin. It was agreed on the motion of Cornutus that the case should be investigated at the next meeting of the senate, but at that meeting he did not put in an appearance, either from some accidental reason or because he knew he was guilty. Well, I have told you the news of Rome, you must write and tell me the news of the country. How are your shrubs getting on, your vines and your crops, and those dainty sheep of yours? In short, unless you send me as long a letter I am sending you, you mustn't expect anything more than the scrappiest note from me in the future. Farewell. 6.33. To Romanus. Away with it all, cried Vulcan, "and cease the task you have begun." * Whether you are writing or reading, bid your people take away your pens and books, and receive this speech of mine, which is as divine as the arms made by Vulcan. Could conceit go further? But frankly, I think it is a fine speech, as compared with my other efforts, and I am satisfied to try and beat my own record. It is on behalf of Attia Viriola, and is worth attention owing to the lady's high position, the singular character of the case, and the importance of the trial. She was a person of high birth, was married to a man of praetorian rank, and was disinherited by her octogenarian father within eleven days after he had fallen violently in love, married a second time, and given Attia a step-mother. She sued for her father's effects in the Four Courts. ** A hundred and eighty judges sat to hear the case, for that is the number appointed for the Four Chambers ; there was a crowd of advocates on both sides, and the benches were packed, while there was also a dense ring of people standing many deep around the whole spacious court. Moreover, the tribunal was closely filled, and even in the upper galleries of the hall men and women leant over both to see and hear what was going on, the former being easy but the latter difficult of accomplishment. Fathers, daughters, and step-mothers were on the tip-toe of expectation. The fortunes of the day varied, for in two courts we were victorious, and in two we were beaten. It seemed an extraordinary and remarkable thing, that with the same judges and the same advocates there should be such different verdicts at one and the same time, and that this should be due to chance, though it did not so appear to be. The step-mother, who had been made heir to a sixth of the property, lost, and so too did Suberinus, † who, in spite of having been disinherited by his own father, had the amazing impudence to claim the property of someone else's father, but did not dare to claim that of his own. I have entered into these explanations, in the first place to acquaint you by letter of certain facts which you could not gather from the speech, and secondly - for I will be frank, and tell you my little tricks - to make you the more willing to read the speech, by leading you to imagine that you are not merely reading it, but are actually present at the trial. Though the speech is a long one, I am in some hope that it will meet with as kind a reception as a very short one. For the interest is constantly renewed by the fullness of the subject-matter, the neat way in which it is divided, the number of digressions, and the different kinds of eloquence employed. Many parts of it - I would not venture to say so to anyone but yourself - are of sustained dignity, many are controversial, many are closely argued. For constantly, in the midst of my most passionate and lofty passages, I was obliged to go into calculations, and almost had to call for counters and a table to carry them through, the consequence being that the court of law was suddenly turned into a sort of private counting-house. I gave free play to my indignation, to my anger, to my resentment, and so I sailed along, as it were, in this long pleading, as though I were on a vast sea, with a variety of winds to fill my sails. In fine, to say what I said before, some of my intimate friends repeatedly tell me that this speech of mine is as much above my previous efforts as Demosthenes' speech on behalf of Ctesiphon is above his others. Whether they are right in their judgment you will have no difficulty in deciding, for your memory of all my speeches is so good that by merely reading this one you can institute a comparison with them all. Farewell 7.6. To Macrinus. The suit against Varenus has come to an unusual and remarkable conclusion, and the issue is even now open to doubt. People say that the Bithynians have withdrawn their accusation against him, on the ground that they entered upon it without adequate proofs. That, I repeat, is what people are saying. However, the legate of the province is in Rome, and he has laid the decree of the Council before Caesar, before many of the leading men here, and even before us who are acting for Varenus. None the less our friend Magnus, as usual, persists in his opposition, and he still keeps worrying that estimable man Nigrinus. He pressed the consuls, through Nigrinus, to force Varenus to produce his official accounts. I was standing by Varenus in a friendly way, and had made up my mind to say nothing, for nothing would have damaged his prospects so much as for me, who had been appointed by the senate to act on his behalf, to begin defending him, as though he were on his trial, when the great thing was to prevent him being put on his trial at all. However, when Nigrinus had concluded his demand, and the consuls looked towards me to say something, I remarked In one instance, a mother who had lost her son - for there is no reason why I should not recall some of my old cases, though this was not my motive in writing this letter - accused his freedmen - who were also co-heirs to the estate - of having forged the will and poisoned their master. She brought the matter to the notice of the Emperor, and obtained permission for Julius Servianus to act as judge. I defended the accused in a crowded court, for the case was a regular cause célèbre, and there were the best counsel of the day engaged on both sides. The hearing was decided by the evidence of the slaves, who were submitted to torture, and their answers were in favour of the accused. Subsequently, the mother appealed to the Emperor, declaring that she had discovered fresh proofs. Suburanus was instructed to give her a hearing again, provided that she brought forward new evidence. Julius Africanus appeared for the mother - a grandson of the orator of whom Passienus Crispus said after listening to his speech It has been much the same in the present case, and my policy in saying just what I did on behalf of Varenus and nothing more has been greatly approved. The consuls, as Polyaenus desired, have left the Emperor an entirely free hand, and I am waiting for him to hear the case, with much anxiety; for, when he does, the issue of the day will either free us, who are on Varenus's side, from all trouble and make our minds perfectly easy, or it will entail our setting to work again and a new period of anxious worry. Farewell. 7.33. To Tacitus. I venture to prophesy - and I know my prognostics are right - that your histories will be immortal, and that, I frankly confess, makes me the more anxious to figure in them. For if it is quite an ordinary thing for us to take care to secure the best painter to paint our portrait, ought we not also to be desirous of getting an author and historian of your calibre to describe our deeds ? That is why though it could hardly escape your careful eye, as it is to be found in the public records - I bring the following incident before your notice, and I do so in order to assure you how pleased I shall be, if you will lend your powers of description and the weight of your testimony to setting forth the way I behaved on an occasion when I reaped credit, owing to the dangers to which I exposed myself. The senate had appointed me to act with Herennius Senecio on behalf of the province of Baetica in the prosecution of Baebius Massa, * and, when Massa had been sentenced, it decreed that his property should be placed under public custody. Senecio came to me, after finding out that the consuls would be at liberty to hear petitions, and said My conduct on this occasion, whatever its worth may have been, will be made even more famous, more distinguished, and more noble if you describe it, although I do not ask of you to go beyond the strict letter of what actually occurred. For history ought never to transgress against truth, and an honourable action wants nothing more than to be faithfully recorded. Farewell. %%% 9.13. To Quadratus. The more carefully and closely you have read the books I composed to vindicate the character of Helvidius, the more anxious, you say, you are for me to write an account of the whole affair from beginning to end, which you were too young to take any part in, giving you details which do not appear in my volumes as well as those which do. When Domitian was put to death, I took counsel with myself and came to the conclusion that there was now a splendid and glorious opportunity for prosecuting the guilty, vindicating the oppressed, and at the same time bringing myself into prominence. It seemed to me that of all the many crimes committed by that crowd of wretches, there was none more atrocious than that a senator should have laid violent hands upon another senator in the senate-house, that a man of praetorian rank should have assaulted a man of consular rank, and a judge an accused person. Besides, Helvidius and I were friends, so far as friendship was possible with one who, owing to the terrorism that prevailed, tried to conceal his illustrious name and equally illustrious virtues in strict retirement; and I was also a friend of Arria and Fannia, * the former of whom was the step-mother of Helvidius, and the latter the mother of Arria. But it was not so much my feelings as a friend, but my sense of public duty, my indignation at what had taken place, and the importance of the precedent, which stirred me. For the first few days after liberty had been restored each man was busy in his own interests impeaching his own private enemies - at least the more unimportant of them - and at once obtaining their condemnation, but all was being done with uproar and turbulence. I considered it would show greater modesty and boldness not to overthrow the worst criminal of them all on the general odium against the practices of the late reign, but to attack him on a specific charge, after the first furious outburst had worn itself out and the general rage was daily abating, and when men were beginning again to think of what was just. So, though I was in great distress at the time, for I had just recently lost my wife, ** I sent to Anteia - who was the wife of Helvidius - asking her to come and see me, as the bereavement I had recently suffered kept me still confined to my house. When she came, I said It was my unfailing practice to consult Corellius on all matters, for I looked upon him as the most far-seeing and the wisest man of our time ; but in this business I was satisfied with my own judgment, for I was afraid that he would try and dissuade me from my design, as he was always rather prone to hesitation and caution. However, I could not make up my mind to refrain from giving him a hint, when the day came, of what I was going to do, though I did not ask his advice as to whether I should proceed with my intention, for I have found by experience that, when you have decided on a course of action, it is a mistake to consult as to its wisdom those whose advice you ought to follow when once you ask them for it. I entered the senate ; I craved permission to address the house, and for a little time everyone agreed with what I said. But when I began to touch upon the charge I was bringing and foreshadow whom I was accusing - though I had not yet named him - there were loud cries of dissent from all sides. One exclaimed, "Let us know who it is that you are denouncing out of order? " ; another, "Who is it that is being put on his trial before he has been impeached ?" ; another, "Let us who survive remain in security." I listened without fear or trepidation, sustained by the righteousness of the cause I had undertaken, while it always materially contributes to one's confidence or fear whether one's audience is merely unwilling to hear your case or actively disapproves of it. It would be tedious to relate all the exclamations which were flung from side to side, but at last the consul said By this time the time for recording opinions had arrived. Among the speakers were Domitius Apollinaris, the consul-designate, Fabricius Veiento, Fabius Maximinus, Vettius Proculus, the colleague of Publicius Certus, who was the subject of debate, and the father-in-law of the wife whom I had just lost. After these Ammius Flaccus spoke. They all defended Certus, just as if I had already named him, which I had not, and took up and defended his cause, though the charge had been left vague. †† I need not tell you the substance of their speeches, for you have them in my books, just as I took them down in their own words. They were opposed by Avidius Quietus and Cornutus Tertullus. Quietus urged that it was most unjust to refuse to hear the complaints of the aggrieved persons, and, therefore, Arria and Fannia ought not to be robbed of their right to lodge a complaint. It did not matter, he said, what class a person belonged to, the point was whether his case was just. Cornutus said that he had been appointed guardian by the consuls to the daughter of Helvidius at the request of her mother and step-father, and that he could not think of failing in his duties at such a moment. However, he would set a limit to his own personal resentment and only support the very moderate request of these excellent ladies, who would be satisfied with bringing before the notice of the senate the crime-stained servility of Publicius Certus, and asking that, though the penalty for his most iniquitous crime might be foregone, he might at least be branded with some mark of disgrace similar to being officially degraded by the censors. Satrius Rufus followed with an equivocal speech, the meaning of which was by no means clear. "I consider," he said, "Publicius Certus will be wronged unless he is acquitted ; he has been impeached by the friends of Arria ; and Fannia, and by his own friends. Nor ought we to be anxious on his account, for we, who think well of him, are also to act as his judges. If he is innocent, as I hope and prefer to think he is, and as I shall continue to believe until something is proved against him, you will be able to acquit him." Such were the sentiments delivered, in the order in which the speakers were severally called upon to speak. Then my turn came ; I rose to my feet, and opening my remarks as you will find in my book, I replied to all, one by one. It was wonderful to notice with what attention and applause all my points were received by those who a little before were shouting me down. This sweeping change of view was due either to the importance of the subject under debate, or to the success of my speech, or to the boldness of the speaker. At length I concluded; Veiento began to answer me, but no one suffered him to speak ; he was greeted with such interruptions and clamours that he exclaimed, "I beg of you, conscript fathers, not to force me to appeal to the tribunes for protection." Immediately the tribune Murena broke in with, "I permit you, most honourable Veiento, to speak." At that the tumult broke out again. In the pauses between the outcries the consul read over the names and took the votes by a division, and then adjourned the House, leaving Veiento still on his feet and struggling to deliver his speech. He complained bitterly of the indignity - as he called it - which had been shown him, quoting the line from Homer Certus was not present when all this took place, either owing to his having some suspicion of what was about to happen, or else he was ill, which was the reason he assigned for his absence. It is true that Caesar never referred to the senate the inquiry into Certus's crimes, yet I gained the point for which I had striven. For it was a colleague of Certus who gained the consulship, and Certus's place was taken by someone else, and so the sentence at the close of my speech was fulfilled, where I said, "Let him give back, now that we have a model emperor to reign over us, the prize which was conferred upon him by the worst of emperors." Subsequently, I recalled the speech to my memory as best I could, and added a good deal. By a coincidence, which looked rather more than a coincidence. Certus was taken ill and died a very few days after I published my book. I have heard people say that he was haunted by a phantom which was for ever presenting itself to his mind and gaze, and that he thought he saw me threatening him with a sword. I should not like to say that this actually was the case, but it adds to the moral that it should be considered as true. Well, I have written you a letter which, judged by the standard length of a letter, is about as long as the books you have read, but you have only yourself to blame, inasmuch as you were not content with the published books. Farewell.
5. Pliny The Younger, Letters, 1.5, 1.20, 2.3, 2.11, 6.33, 7.6, 7.33, 9.13 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

1.5. To Voconius Romanus. Did you ever see a man more abject and fawning than Marcus Regulus has been since the death of Domitian? His misdeeds were better concealed during that prince's reign, but they were every bit as bad as they were in the time of Nero. He began to be afraid that I was angry with him and he was not mistaken, for I certainly was annoyed. After doing what he could to help those who were prosecuting Rusticus Arulenus, he had openly exulted at his death, and went so far as to publicly read and then publish a pamphlet in which he violently attacks Rusticus and even calls him "the Stoics' ape," adding that "he is marked with the brand of Vitellius." * You recognise, of course, the Regulian style! He tears to pieces Herennius Senecio so savagely that Metius Carus said to him, "What have you to do with my dead men? Did I ever worry your Crassus or Camerinus?" - these being some of Regulus's victims in the days of Nero. Regulus thought I bore him malice for this, and so he did not invite me when he read his pamphlet. Besides, he remembered that he once mortally attacked me in the court of the centumviri. ** I was a witness on behalf of Arionilla, the wife of Timon, at the request of Rusticus Arulenus, and Regulus was conducting the prosecution. We on our side were relying for part of the defence on a decision of Metius Modestus, an excellent man who had been banished by Domitian and was at that moment in exile. This was Regulus's opportunity. "Tell me, Secundus," said he, "what you think of Modestus." You see in what peril I should have placed myself if I had answered that I thought highly of him, and how disgraceful it would have been if I had said that I thought ill of him. I fancy it must have been the gods who came to my rescue. "I will tell you what I think of him," I said, "when the Court has to give a decision on the point." He returned to the charge Well, now the fellow is conscience-stricken, and buttonholes first Caecilius Celer and then implores Fabius Justus to reconcile me to him. Not content with that, he makes his way in to see Spurinna, and begs and prays of him - you know what an abject coward he is when he is frightened - as follows. "Do go," says he, "and call on Pliny in the morning - early in the morning, for my suspense is unbearable - and do what you can to remove his anger against me." I was early awake that day, when a message came from Spurinna, "I am coming to see you." I sent back word, "I will come and see you." We met at the portico of Livia, just as we were each of us on the way to see the other. He explained his commission from Regulus and added his own entreaties, but did not press the point too strongly, as became a worthy gentleman asking a favour for a worthless acquaintance. This was my answer That practically closed the conversation. I did not wish it to go any further, so that I might not commit myself until Mauricus arrived. Moreover, I am quite aware that Regulus is a difficult bird to net. He is rich, he is a shrewd intriguer, he has no inconsiderable body of followers and a still larger circle of those who fear him, and fear is often a more powerful factor than affection. But, after all, these are bonds that may be shattered and weakened, for a bad man's influence is as little to be relied upon as is the man himself. Moreover, let me repeat that I am waiting for Mauricus. He is a man of sound judgment and sagacity, which he has learned by experience, and he can gauge what is likely to happen in the future from what has occurred in the past. I shall be guided by him, and either strike a blow or set aside my weapons just as he thinks best. I have written you this letter because it is only right, considering our regard for one another, that you should be acquainted not only with what I have said and done, but also with my plans for the future. Farewell. 1.20. To Cornelius Tacitus. I am constantly having arguments with a friend of mine who is a learned and practised speaker, but who admires in pleading nothing so much as brevity. I allow that brevity ought to be observed, if the case permits of it; but sometimes it is an act of collusion to pass over matters that ought to be mentioned, and it is even an act of collusion to run briefly and rapidly over points which ought to be dwelt upon, to be thoroughly driven home, and to be taken up and dealt with more than once. For very often an argument acquires strength and weight by being handled at some length, and a speech ought to be impressed on the mind, not by a short, sharp shock, but by measured blows, just as a sword should be used in dealing with the body of an opponent. Thereupon he plies me with authorities, and flourishes before me the speeches of Lysias among the Greeks, and those of the Gracchi and Cato from among Roman orators. The majority of these are certainly characterised by conciseness and brevity, but I quote against Lysias the examples of Demosthenes, Aeschines, Hyperides, and a multitude of others, while against the Gracchi and Cato I set Pollio, Caesar, Caelius, and, above all, Marcus Tullius, whose longest speech is generally considered to be his best. * And upon my word, as with all other good things, the more there is of a good book, the better it is. You know how it is with statues, images, pictures, and the outlines of many animals and even trees, that if they are at all graceful nothing gives them a greater charm than size. It is just the same with speeches, - even the mere volumes themselves acquire a certain additional dignity and beauty from mere bulk. These are but a few of the many arguments I usually employ to establish my point; but there is no pinning my friend down in an argument. He is such a slippery fellow that he wriggles off the pin and declares that these same orators, whose speeches I instance, spoke at less length than their published addresses seem to show. I hold the contrary to be the case, and there are many speeches of many orators in favour of my opinion, as, for example, the 'Pro Murena' and the 'Pro Vareno' of Cicero, in which he indicates by headings alone, and quite barely and briefly, how he dealt with certain charges against his clients. From these it is clear that he actually spoke at much greater length and left out a considerable number of passages when he published the addresses. Cicero indeed says that in his defence of Cluentius "he had simply followed the ancient custom and compressed his whole case into a peroration," and that in defending Caius Cornelius "he had pleaded for four days." ** Hence it cannot be questioned that after speaking somewhat discursively for several days, as he was bound to do, he subsequently trimmed and revised his oration and compressed it into a single book - a long one, it is true, but yet a single book. But, argues my friend, a good indictment is a different thing from a good speech. I know some people hold that view, but I - of course I may be wrong - feel persuaded that though it is possible to have a good indictment without a good speech, it is not possible for a good speech not to be a good indictment. For a speech is the exemplar of an indictment - one might even call it its archetype. Hence in every first-class oration we find a thousand extempore figures of speech, even in those which we know to have been carefully edited. For example, in the Speech against Verres Regulus once said to me when we were in Court together Nor do I forget that in his eulogy of that consummate orator, Pericles, the comedy-writer Eupolis used the following language But, you say, the mean is the best. Quite so, but the mean is as much neglected by those who fail to do justice to their subject as by those who overdo it, by those who restrain themselves as by those who give themselves their heads. And so you often hear the criticism that a speech was "frigid and weak," just as you hear that another was "overloaded and a mass of repetition." The one speaker is said to have over-elaborated his subject, the other not to have risen to the occasion. Both are at fault; one through weakness, the other through too much strength, and the latter, though he may not show the more refined intellect, certainly shows the more robust mind. When I say this it must not be supposed that I am approving Homer's Thersites - the man who was a torrent of words - but rather his Ulysses, whose "words were like snow-flakes in winter," though at the same time I admire his Menelaus, who spoke "Few words, but well to the point." Yet, if I had to choose, I should prefer the speech that is like the winter snow- storm - viz. fluent, flowing, and of generous width; and not only that, but divine and celestial. It may, I know, be said that many people prefer a short pleading. No doubt, but they are lazy creatures, and it is ridiculous to consult the tastes of such sloths as though they were critics. For if you take their opinion as worth anything, you will find that they not only prefer a short pleading, but no pleading at all. Well, I have told you what I think. I shall change my opinion if you do not agree with me, but in that case I beg of you to give me clear reasons for your disagreement; for although I feel bound to bow to a man of your judgment, yet in a point of such importance, I consider that I ought to give way rather to a reasoned statement than to an ipse dixit. But even if you think I am right, still write and tell me so, and make the letter as short as you like - for you will thus confirm my judgment. If I am wrong, see that you write me a very long letter. I feel sure I have not estimated you wrongly in thus asking you for a short note if you agree with me, while laying on you the obligation of writing at length if you disagree. Farewell. 2.3. To Nepos. Isaeus's reputation - and it was a great one - had preceded him to Rome, * but it was found to fall short of his merits. He has consummate oratorical power, fluency and choice of expression, and though he always speaks extempore his speeches might have been carefully written out long beforehand. He speaks in Greek, and that the purest Attic; his prefatory remarks are polished, neat and agreeable, and occasionally stately and sparkling. He asks to be supplied with a number of subjects for discussion, and allows his audience to choose which they will have and often which side they would like him to take. Then he rises to his feet, wraps his gown round him, and begins. Without losing a moment he has everything at his fingers' ends, irrespective of the subject selected. Deep thoughts come crowding into his mind and words flow to his lips. And such words - exquisitely choice! Every now and then there come flashes which show how widely he has read and how much he has written. He opens his case to the point; he states his position clearly; his arguments are incisive; his conclusions are forcible; his word-painting is magnificent. In a word, he instructs, delights, and impresses his hearers, so that you can hardly say wherein he most excels. He makes constant use of rhetorical arguments, ** his syllogisms are crisp and finished - though that is not an easy matter to attain even with a pen. He has a wonderful memory and can repeat, without missing a single word, even his extempore speeches. He has attained this facility by study and constant practice, for he does nothing else day or night Consequently, I look upon Isaeus not only as a wonderfully learned man but as one who possesses a most enviable lot, and you must be made of flint and iron if you do not burn to make his acquaintance. So if there is nothing else to draw you here, if I myself am not a sufficient attraction, do come to hear Isaeus. Have you never read of the man who lived at Gades who was so fired by the name and glory of Titus Livius that he came from the remotest corner of the world to see him, and returned the moment he had set eyes on him? It would stamp a man as an illiterate boor and a lazy idler, it would be disgraceful almost for any one not to think the journey worth the trouble when the reward is a study which is more delightful, more elegant, and has more of the humanities than any other. You will say 0 2.11. To Arrianus. I know you are always delighted when the senate behaves in a way befitting its rank, for though your love of peace and quiet has caused you to withdraw from Rome, your anxiety that public life should be kept at a high level is as strong as it ever was. So let me tell you what has been going on during the last few days. The proceedings are memorable owing to the commanding position of the person most concerned; they will have a healthy influence because of the sharp lesson that has been administered; and the importance of the case will make them famous for all time. Marius Priscus, on being accused by the people of Africa, whom he had governed as proconsul, declined to defend himself before the senate and asked to have judges assigned to hear the case. * Cornelius Tacitus and myself were instructed to appear for the provincials, and we came to the conclusion that we were bound in honesty to our clients to notify the senate that the charges of inhumanity and cruelty brought against Priscus were too serious to be heard by a panel of judges, inasmuch as he was accused of having received bribes to condemn and even put to death innocent persons. Fronto Catius spoke in reply, and urged that the prosecution should be confined within the law dealing with extortion Well, the witnesses who were summoned came to Rome, viz., Vitellius Honoratus and Flavius Martianus. Honoratus was charged with having bribed Priscus to the tune of three hundred thousand sesterces to exile a Roman knight and put seven of his friends to death; Martianus was accused of having given Priscus seven hundred thousand sesterces to sentence a single Roman knight to still more grievous punishment, for he was beaten with rods, condemned to the mines, and then strangled in prison. Honoratus - luckily for him - escaped the investigation of the senate by dying; Martianus was brought before them when Priscus was not present. Consequently Tuccius Cerealis, a man of consular rank, pleaded senatorial privileges and demanded that Priscus should be informed of the attendance of Martianus, either because he thought that Priscus by being present would have a better chance of awakening the compassion of the senate or to increase the feeling against him, or possibly, and I think this was his real motive, because strict justice demanded that both should defend themselves against a charge that affected them both, and that both should be punished if they could not rebut the accusation. The subject was postponed to the next meeting of the senate, and a very august assembly it was. The Emperor presided in his capacity as consul; besides, the month of January brings crowds of people to Rome and especially senators, † and moreover the importance of the case, the great notoriety it had obtained, which had been increased by the delays that had taken place, and the ingrained curiosity of all men to get to know all the details of an unusually important matter, had made everybody flock to Rome from all quarters. You can imagine how nervous and anxious we were in having to speak in such a gathering and in the presence of the Emperor on such an important case. It was not the first time that I had pleaded in the senate, and there is nowhere where I get a more sympathetic hearing, but then the novelty of the whole position seemed to afflict me with a feeling of nervousness I had never felt before. For in addition to all that I have mentioned above I kept thinking of the difficulties of the case and was oppressed by the feeling that Priscus, the defendant, had once held consular rank and been one of the seven regulators of the sacred feasts, and was now deprived of both these dignities. † So I found it a very trying task to accuse a man on whom sentence had already been passed, for though the shocking offences with which he was charged weighed heavily against him, he yet was protected to a certain extent by the commiseration felt for a man already condemned to punishment that one might have thought final. However, as soon as I had pulled myself together and collected my thoughts, I began my address, and though I was nervous I was on the best of terms with my audience. I spoke for nearly five hours, for, in addition to the twelve water-clocks - the largest I could get - which had been assigned to me, I obtained four others. And, as matters turned out, everything that I thought before speaking would have proved an obstacle in the way of a good speech really helped me during my address. As for the Emperor, he showed me such kind attention and consideration - for it would be too much to call it anxiety on my behalf - that he frequently nodded to my freedman, who was standing just behind me, to give me a hint not to overtax my voice and lungs, when he thought that I was throwing myself too ardently into my pleading and imposing too great a burden on my slender frame. Claudius Marcellinus answered me on behalf of Martianus, and then the senate was dismissed and met again on the following day. For there was no time to begin a fresh speech, as it would have had to be broken off by the fall of night. On the following day, Salvius Liberalis, a man of shrewd wit, careful in the arrangement of his speeches, with a pointed style and a fund of learning, spoke for Marius, and in his speech he certainly brought out all he knew. Cornelius Tacitus replied to him in a wonderfully eloquent address, characterised by that lofty dignity which is the chief charm of his oratory. Then Fronto Catius made another excellent speech on Marius's behalf, and he spent more time in appeals for mercy than in rebutting evidence, as befitted the part of the case that he had then to deal with. The fall of night terminated his speech but did not break it off altogether, and so the proceedings lasted over into the third day. This was quite fine and just like it used to be for the senate to be interrupted by nightfall, and for the members to be called and sit for three days running. Cornutus Tertullus, the consul-designate, a man of high character and a devoted champion of justice, gave as his opinion that the seven hundred thousand sesterces which Marius had received should be confiscated to the Treasury, that Marius should be banished from Rome and Italy, and that Martianus should be banished from Rome, Italy, and Africa. Towards the conclusion of his speech he added the remark that the senate considered that, since Tacitus and myself, who had been summoned to plead for the provincials, had fulfilled our duties with diligence and fearlessness, we had acted in a manner worthy of the commission entrusted to us. The consuls-designate agreed, and all the consulars did likewise, until it was Pompeius Collega's turn to speak. He proposed that the seven hundred thousand sesterces received by Marius should be confiscated to the Treasury, that Martianus should be banished ‡ for five years, and that Marius should suffer no further penalty than that for extortion - which had already been passed upon him. Opinion was largely divided, and there was possibly a majority in favour of the latter proposal, which was the more lenient or less severe of the two, for even some of those who appeared to have supported Cornutus changed sides and were ready to vote for Collega, who had spoken after them. But when the House divided, those who stood near the seats of the consuls began to cross over to the side of Cornutus. Then those who were allowing themselves to be counted as supporters of Collega also crossed over, and Collega was left with a mere handful. He complained bitterly afterwards of those who had led him to make the proposal he did, especially of Regulus, who had failed to support him in the proposal that he himself had suggested. But Regulus is a fickle fellow, rash to a degree, yet a great coward as well. Such was the close of this most important investigation; but there is still another bit of public business on hand of some consequence, for Hostilius Firminus, the legate of Marius Priscus, who was implicated in the matter, had received a very rough handling. It was proved by the accounts of Martianus and a speech he made in the Council of the Town of Leptis that he had engaged with Priscus in a very shady transaction, that he had bargained to receive from Martianus 50,000 denarii and had received in addition ten million sesterces under the head of perfume money - a most disgraceful thing for a soldier, but one which was not at all inconsistent with his character as a man with well-trimmed hair and polished skin. It was agreed on the motion of Cornutus that the case should be investigated at the next meeting of the senate, but at that meeting he did not put in an appearance, either from some accidental reason or because he knew he was guilty. Well, I have told you the news of Rome, you must write and tell me the news of the country. How are your shrubs getting on, your vines and your crops, and those dainty sheep of yours? In short, unless you send me as long a letter I am sending you, you mustn't expect anything more than the scrappiest note from me in the future. Farewell. 6.33. To Romanus. Away with it all, cried Vulcan, "and cease the task you have begun." * Whether you are writing or reading, bid your people take away your pens and books, and receive this speech of mine, which is as divine as the arms made by Vulcan. Could conceit go further? But frankly, I think it is a fine speech, as compared with my other efforts, and I am satisfied to try and beat my own record. It is on behalf of Attia Viriola, and is worth attention owing to the lady's high position, the singular character of the case, and the importance of the trial. She was a person of high birth, was married to a man of praetorian rank, and was disinherited by her octogenarian father within eleven days after he had fallen violently in love, married a second time, and given Attia a step-mother. She sued for her father's effects in the Four Courts. ** A hundred and eighty judges sat to hear the case, for that is the number appointed for the Four Chambers ; there was a crowd of advocates on both sides, and the benches were packed, while there was also a dense ring of people standing many deep around the whole spacious court. Moreover, the tribunal was closely filled, and even in the upper galleries of the hall men and women leant over both to see and hear what was going on, the former being easy but the latter difficult of accomplishment. Fathers, daughters, and step-mothers were on the tip-toe of expectation. The fortunes of the day varied, for in two courts we were victorious, and in two we were beaten. It seemed an extraordinary and remarkable thing, that with the same judges and the same advocates there should be such different verdicts at one and the same time, and that this should be due to chance, though it did not so appear to be. The step-mother, who had been made heir to a sixth of the property, lost, and so too did Suberinus, † who, in spite of having been disinherited by his own father, had the amazing impudence to claim the property of someone else's father, but did not dare to claim that of his own. I have entered into these explanations, in the first place to acquaint you by letter of certain facts which you could not gather from the speech, and secondly - for I will be frank, and tell you my little tricks - to make you the more willing to read the speech, by leading you to imagine that you are not merely reading it, but are actually present at the trial. Though the speech is a long one, I am in some hope that it will meet with as kind a reception as a very short one. For the interest is constantly renewed by the fullness of the subject-matter, the neat way in which it is divided, the number of digressions, and the different kinds of eloquence employed. Many parts of it - I would not venture to say so to anyone but yourself - are of sustained dignity, many are controversial, many are closely argued. For constantly, in the midst of my most passionate and lofty passages, I was obliged to go into calculations, and almost had to call for counters and a table to carry them through, the consequence being that the court of law was suddenly turned into a sort of private counting-house. I gave free play to my indignation, to my anger, to my resentment, and so I sailed along, as it were, in this long pleading, as though I were on a vast sea, with a variety of winds to fill my sails. In fine, to say what I said before, some of my intimate friends repeatedly tell me that this speech of mine is as much above my previous efforts as Demosthenes' speech on behalf of Ctesiphon is above his others. Whether they are right in their judgment you will have no difficulty in deciding, for your memory of all my speeches is so good that by merely reading this one you can institute a comparison with them all. Farewell 7.6. To Macrinus. The suit against Varenus has come to an unusual and remarkable conclusion, and the issue is even now open to doubt. People say that the Bithynians have withdrawn their accusation against him, on the ground that they entered upon it without adequate proofs. That, I repeat, is what people are saying. However, the legate of the province is in Rome, and he has laid the decree of the Council before Caesar, before many of the leading men here, and even before us who are acting for Varenus. None the less our friend Magnus, as usual, persists in his opposition, and he still keeps worrying that estimable man Nigrinus. He pressed the consuls, through Nigrinus, to force Varenus to produce his official accounts. I was standing by Varenus in a friendly way, and had made up my mind to say nothing, for nothing would have damaged his prospects so much as for me, who had been appointed by the senate to act on his behalf, to begin defending him, as though he were on his trial, when the great thing was to prevent him being put on his trial at all. However, when Nigrinus had concluded his demand, and the consuls looked towards me to say something, I remarked In one instance, a mother who had lost her son - for there is no reason why I should not recall some of my old cases, though this was not my motive in writing this letter - accused his freedmen - who were also co-heirs to the estate - of having forged the will and poisoned their master. She brought the matter to the notice of the Emperor, and obtained permission for Julius Servianus to act as judge. I defended the accused in a crowded court, for the case was a regular cause célèbre, and there were the best counsel of the day engaged on both sides. The hearing was decided by the evidence of the slaves, who were submitted to torture, and their answers were in favour of the accused. Subsequently, the mother appealed to the Emperor, declaring that she had discovered fresh proofs. Suburanus was instructed to give her a hearing again, provided that she brought forward new evidence. Julius Africanus appeared for the mother - a grandson of the orator of whom Passienus Crispus said after listening to his speech It has been much the same in the present case, and my policy in saying just what I did on behalf of Varenus and nothing more has been greatly approved. The consuls, as Polyaenus desired, have left the Emperor an entirely free hand, and I am waiting for him to hear the case, with much anxiety; for, when he does, the issue of the day will either free us, who are on Varenus's side, from all trouble and make our minds perfectly easy, or it will entail our setting to work again and a new period of anxious worry. Farewell. 7.33. To Tacitus. I venture to prophesy - and I know my prognostics are right - that your histories will be immortal, and that, I frankly confess, makes me the more anxious to figure in them. For if it is quite an ordinary thing for us to take care to secure the best painter to paint our portrait, ought we not also to be desirous of getting an author and historian of your calibre to describe our deeds ? That is why though it could hardly escape your careful eye, as it is to be found in the public records - I bring the following incident before your notice, and I do so in order to assure you how pleased I shall be, if you will lend your powers of description and the weight of your testimony to setting forth the way I behaved on an occasion when I reaped credit, owing to the dangers to which I exposed myself. The senate had appointed me to act with Herennius Senecio on behalf of the province of Baetica in the prosecution of Baebius Massa, * and, when Massa had been sentenced, it decreed that his property should be placed under public custody. Senecio came to me, after finding out that the consuls would be at liberty to hear petitions, and said My conduct on this occasion, whatever its worth may have been, will be made even more famous, more distinguished, and more noble if you describe it, although I do not ask of you to go beyond the strict letter of what actually occurred. For history ought never to transgress against truth, and an honourable action wants nothing more than to be faithfully recorded. Farewell. %%% 9.13. To Quadratus. The more carefully and closely you have read the books I composed to vindicate the character of Helvidius, the more anxious, you say, you are for me to write an account of the whole affair from beginning to end, which you were too young to take any part in, giving you details which do not appear in my volumes as well as those which do. When Domitian was put to death, I took counsel with myself and came to the conclusion that there was now a splendid and glorious opportunity for prosecuting the guilty, vindicating the oppressed, and at the same time bringing myself into prominence. It seemed to me that of all the many crimes committed by that crowd of wretches, there was none more atrocious than that a senator should have laid violent hands upon another senator in the senate-house, that a man of praetorian rank should have assaulted a man of consular rank, and a judge an accused person. Besides, Helvidius and I were friends, so far as friendship was possible with one who, owing to the terrorism that prevailed, tried to conceal his illustrious name and equally illustrious virtues in strict retirement; and I was also a friend of Arria and Fannia, * the former of whom was the step-mother of Helvidius, and the latter the mother of Arria. But it was not so much my feelings as a friend, but my sense of public duty, my indignation at what had taken place, and the importance of the precedent, which stirred me. For the first few days after liberty had been restored each man was busy in his own interests impeaching his own private enemies - at least the more unimportant of them - and at once obtaining their condemnation, but all was being done with uproar and turbulence. I considered it would show greater modesty and boldness not to overthrow the worst criminal of them all on the general odium against the practices of the late reign, but to attack him on a specific charge, after the first furious outburst had worn itself out and the general rage was daily abating, and when men were beginning again to think of what was just. So, though I was in great distress at the time, for I had just recently lost my wife, ** I sent to Anteia - who was the wife of Helvidius - asking her to come and see me, as the bereavement I had recently suffered kept me still confined to my house. When she came, I said It was my unfailing practice to consult Corellius on all matters, for I looked upon him as the most far-seeing and the wisest man of our time ; but in this business I was satisfied with my own judgment, for I was afraid that he would try and dissuade me from my design, as he was always rather prone to hesitation and caution. However, I could not make up my mind to refrain from giving him a hint, when the day came, of what I was going to do, though I did not ask his advice as to whether I should proceed with my intention, for I have found by experience that, when you have decided on a course of action, it is a mistake to consult as to its wisdom those whose advice you ought to follow when once you ask them for it. I entered the senate ; I craved permission to address the house, and for a little time everyone agreed with what I said. But when I began to touch upon the charge I was bringing and foreshadow whom I was accusing - though I had not yet named him - there were loud cries of dissent from all sides. One exclaimed, "Let us know who it is that you are denouncing out of order? " ; another, "Who is it that is being put on his trial before he has been impeached ?" ; another, "Let us who survive remain in security." I listened without fear or trepidation, sustained by the righteousness of the cause I had undertaken, while it always materially contributes to one's confidence or fear whether one's audience is merely unwilling to hear your case or actively disapproves of it. It would be tedious to relate all the exclamations which were flung from side to side, but at last the consul said By this time the time for recording opinions had arrived. Among the speakers were Domitius Apollinaris, the consul-designate, Fabricius Veiento, Fabius Maximinus, Vettius Proculus, the colleague of Publicius Certus, who was the subject of debate, and the father-in-law of the wife whom I had just lost. After these Ammius Flaccus spoke. They all defended Certus, just as if I had already named him, which I had not, and took up and defended his cause, though the charge had been left vague. †† I need not tell you the substance of their speeches, for you have them in my books, just as I took them down in their own words. They were opposed by Avidius Quietus and Cornutus Tertullus. Quietus urged that it was most unjust to refuse to hear the complaints of the aggrieved persons, and, therefore, Arria and Fannia ought not to be robbed of their right to lodge a complaint. It did not matter, he said, what class a person belonged to, the point was whether his case was just. Cornutus said that he had been appointed guardian by the consuls to the daughter of Helvidius at the request of her mother and step-father, and that he could not think of failing in his duties at such a moment. However, he would set a limit to his own personal resentment and only support the very moderate request of these excellent ladies, who would be satisfied with bringing before the notice of the senate the crime-stained servility of Publicius Certus, and asking that, though the penalty for his most iniquitous crime might be foregone, he might at least be branded with some mark of disgrace similar to being officially degraded by the censors. Satrius Rufus followed with an equivocal speech, the meaning of which was by no means clear. "I consider," he said, "Publicius Certus will be wronged unless he is acquitted ; he has been impeached by the friends of Arria ; and Fannia, and by his own friends. Nor ought we to be anxious on his account, for we, who think well of him, are also to act as his judges. If he is innocent, as I hope and prefer to think he is, and as I shall continue to believe until something is proved against him, you will be able to acquit him." Such were the sentiments delivered, in the order in which the speakers were severally called upon to speak. Then my turn came ; I rose to my feet, and opening my remarks as you will find in my book, I replied to all, one by one. It was wonderful to notice with what attention and applause all my points were received by those who a little before were shouting me down. This sweeping change of view was due either to the importance of the subject under debate, or to the success of my speech, or to the boldness of the speaker. At length I concluded; Veiento began to answer me, but no one suffered him to speak ; he was greeted with such interruptions and clamours that he exclaimed, "I beg of you, conscript fathers, not to force me to appeal to the tribunes for protection." Immediately the tribune Murena broke in with, "I permit you, most honourable Veiento, to speak." At that the tumult broke out again. In the pauses between the outcries the consul read over the names and took the votes by a division, and then adjourned the House, leaving Veiento still on his feet and struggling to deliver his speech. He complained bitterly of the indignity - as he called it - which had been shown him, quoting the line from Homer Certus was not present when all this took place, either owing to his having some suspicion of what was about to happen, or else he was ill, which was the reason he assigned for his absence. It is true that Caesar never referred to the senate the inquiry into Certus's crimes, yet I gained the point for which I had striven. For it was a colleague of Certus who gained the consulship, and Certus's place was taken by someone else, and so the sentence at the close of my speech was fulfilled, where I said, "Let him give back, now that we have a model emperor to reign over us, the prize which was conferred upon him by the worst of emperors." Subsequently, I recalled the speech to my memory as best I could, and added a good deal. By a coincidence, which looked rather more than a coincidence. Certus was taken ill and died a very few days after I published my book. I have heard people say that he was haunted by a phantom which was for ever presenting itself to his mind and gaze, and that he thought he saw me threatening him with a sword. I should not like to say that this actually was the case, but it adds to the moral that it should be considered as true. Well, I have written you a letter which, judged by the standard length of a letter, is about as long as the books you have read, but you have only yourself to blame, inasmuch as you were not content with the published books. Farewell.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
acting Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 320
asinius pollio Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 300
cicero, and the relationship between spoken and written versions of extant speeches Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 38, 39, 40, 41
cicero, revision of his speeches Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 38, 39, 40, 41
cicero Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 322, 323
consulship of. see consulship, ciceros, verres and verrines Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 300, 302
debate Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 320, 324
delivery Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15
dialogue Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 321, 324
ekphrasis Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 325
emendatio, and publication Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 38, 39, 40, 41
enargeia Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 325
exemplum (-a), cicero as Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 299
figures, rhetorical Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 302
homer/homeric Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 323
letters Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 320, 321, 323, 324, 325, 335
narrative Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 325
orality and writing in ancient oratory Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 38
oratory Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 323, 325
pericles Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 322
persuasion Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 321
pliny Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 320, 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 335
pliny the younger, anxieties of Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 299
pliny the younger, as friend of tacitus Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 299
pliny the younger, as quintilianic Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 302
pliny the younger, iudicium alienum in Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 299
pliny the younger, on orality and writing Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 39, 40, 41
process of publication, revision in Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 301
process of publication, self-fashioning of' Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 299
publication, and textual revision Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 38, 39, 40, 41
quintilian, on orality and writing Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 39, 40, 41
quintilian Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 323, 324
quotations Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15
radice, betty Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 300
readers Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 335
readership Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 320
regulus, marcus aquilius Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 299
regulus (m. aquilius) Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 321, 322
rhetoric/rhetorical Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 320, 321, 322, 323, 335
rhetorical question Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 324, 325
self-praise Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15
senate Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 325
seneca Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 335
sherwin-white, a. n. Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 300
silence Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15
speeches Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 320, 322, 323, 324, 325, 335
tacitus, as friend of pliny Keeline, The Cambridge Companion to Cicero's Philosophy (2018) 299
tacitus Papaioannou Serafim and Demetriou, The Ancient Art of Persuasion across Genres and Topics (2019) 15, 320, 321, 324, 325
vir bonus dicendi peritus, ideal of Bua, Roman Political Culture: Seven Studies of the Senate and City Councils of Italy from the First to the Sixth Century AD (2019) 41