Pro A. Caecina

Cicero, Marcus Tullius

Cicero. The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, Volume 2. Yonge, Charles Duke, translator. London: Bell, 1856.

I am not unaware, O judges, although I pass over many things bearing on this right, that still I have dwelt on it at greater length than the plan of your tribunal requires. But I did so, not because I thought that there was any need of urging this defence to you, but in order that all men might understand that the rights of citizenship never had been taken away from any one, and could not be taken away. As I wished those men, whom Sulla desired to injure, to know this, so I wished, also, all the other citizens, both new and old, to be acquainted with it. For no reason can be produced why, if the rights of citizenship could be taken from any new [*](The new citizens are those who had been made citizens of Rome at the termination of the Social War a few years before.) citizen, they cannot also be taken away from all the patricians, from all the very oldest citizens.

For that, with respect to this cause, I had no alarm, may be understood in the first place from this consideration,—that you have no business to decide on that matter; and in the second place, that Sulla himself passed a law respecting the rights of citizenship, avoiding any taking away of the legal obligations and lights of inheritance of these men. For he orders the people of Ariminum to be under the same law that they have been. And who is there who does not know that they were one of the eighteen [*](The old editions usually have “twelve,” but eighteen is the correction of Savigny, which Orellius calls “certissima.” In the second Punic War, a.u.c. 543, of the thirty colonies of the Roman people, twelve declared that they had no means of supplying the consuls with men or money. The other eighteen remained faithful to their allegiance, and of these eighteen Ariminum was one. Vide Livy, xxvii. 9,10.) colonies and that they were able to receive inheritances from Roman citizens? But if the rights of citizenship could by law be taken from Aulus Caecina, still it would be more natural for us and all good men now to inquire by what means we could relieve from injustice, and retain as a citizen, a most well-tried and most virtuous man, a man of the greatest wisdom, of the greatest virtue, of the greatest authority at home, than now, when he could not lose any particle of his right of citizenship, for any man to be found, except one like to you, O Sextus, in folly and impudence, who should venture to say that his rights of citizenship have been taken from him.

And since, O judges, he has never abandoned his full rights, and has never yielded any point to their audacity and insolence, I will say nothing more about the common cause, and I leave the rights of the Roman people to the protection of your good faith and conscientious decision. That man has always desired the good opinion of you and of men like you so much that that is one of the points about which he has been most anxious in this cause; nor has he been struggling for anything else than not to seem to abandon his right in an indifferent manner; he has not been more afraid of being thought to despise Aebutius than of being supposed to be despised by him.

Wherefore, if, without entering on the merits of the case for a moment, I may speak of the man; you have a man before you of eminent modesty, of tried virtue, of well-proved loyalty, known both in good and bad fortune to the most honourable men of all Etruria by many proofs of virtue and humanity. If we must find fault with the opposite side, you have a man before you, to say no more, who admits that he collected armed men together. If, without reference to the individuals, you inquire into the case; as this is a trial about violence,—as he who is accused admits that he committed violence with the aid of armed men, as he endeavours to defend himself by the letter of the law, not by the justice of his cause, as you see that even the letter of the law is against him, and that the authority of the wisest men is on our side; that the question before the court is not whether Caecina was in possession or not, and yet that it can be proved that he was in possession; that still less is it the question whether the farm belonged to Aulus Caecina or net, and yet that I myself have proved that it did belong to him;—as all this is the case, decide what the interests of the republic with reference to armed men, what his own confession of violence, what our decision with respect to justice, and what the terms of the interdict respecting right, admonish you to decide.