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violations of the written law, but as opposed to the moral principles of the Stoic school. It was self-evident that a playful exposure of the unpractical nature of the Stoic paradoxes would seriously weaken the force of those charges which were formidable chiefly from the reputation of Cato. But no one knew better than Cicero that the real key to the defence lay in the political situation of the moment. Catiline's conspiracy was discovered but not crushed: the ringleader was still in arms, the capital was thought to be full of his accomplices. There were then three lines of defence to be employed :
(1) The commonwealth needs all its officers at this crisis:
but the meeting of the centuries for the election of a new consul before Jan. I may be prevented by dozens of things (e. g. religious scruples about an omen):
therefore, keep the consuls you have.
(2) The man for the time must be a man of action, not of forms and quibbles:
Murena is the former : Sulpicius the latter :
therefore, do not condemn a Murena, to make room for a Sulpicius.
(3) The needs of the moment are more pressing than the dangers of ambitus:
granting that Murena may have been guilty to some extent of the latter, he is the very man to meet the former :
therefore, look to the more patriotic side, and acquit Murena.
Such were the arguments which procured an acquittal; and, for aught I can see, they are very good ones. It mattered little that they were irrelevant to the charge (see Appendix A): they were such as Roman jurors could not resist ; and the object was to persuade these. As to the style of the speech, it displays a decided archness and humour, as in the treatment of jurisprudence (§§ 19-30), and in that of the paradoxical dogmas of the Porch (§§ 61-65), in the description of Sulpicius' want of electioneering tact (§§ 43-47, cf. Quintil. XI. i. 69), and of Cato's perverse refusal to recognize ordinary practices (§§ 68-77, cf. Quintil. XI. i. 70). It is also remarkable for its moderation. This is without doubt due to the circumstances in which the speaker was placed. He was pleading on the opposite side to Cato and Sulpicius, two intimate friends; and it would not only have been distasteful, but
have weakened his case, had he given the rein to oratorical vehemence. It is not to be wondered at that when Cicero fell upon the Stoics Cato smiled, and turning to the bystanders said 'sirs, how witty our consul is' (Plut. Cato 21). If we turn to the scornful attack on the Epicureans in pro Sestio § 23 foll., we see how different a tone the orator could take when it suited him and we know well that neither Cato nor Sulpicius made any difference in their feelings or behaviour towards Cicero after the delivery of this speech.
To give some idea of the opinion entertained of the speech by a great critic, it may be well to mention that it is alluded to by Quintilian no less than sixteen times, most of these taking the form of quotations in illustration of some rhetorical figure or device. It supplies also a first-rate instance of varied expression, for jurisprudence and its practice are spoken of by seventeen different names (§§ 9, 19, 22—25, 28—30). The humorous application of the phraseology of the Porch (§§ 3, 60, 77) is also worthy of notice, while the artful introduction of the argument from stateexpediency (§§ 78–80) is beyond all praise. The inaccuracies as to matters of fact, which are commented on in the notes, do not detract from the merit of the speech: as instances of oratorical intensification (deivwois) we may refer to the pictures of Mithridates (§§ 32-34) and of the dangers to be dreaded from the accomplices of Catiline (§§ 78—85).
It is always to be remembered that we have the speech not as it was delivered (see on § 57), but as it was prepared for publication; and it is not unlikely that some of the more finished passages (such as §§ 62—65) received their last touch after the
ABSTRACT OF THE SPEECH.
I Exordium. (a) §§ 1, 2 to tueatur.
The solemn prayers I uttered as presiding officer at the late election bind me to wish well to the candidates whose names I then published as elected consuls. You, gentlemen, are now the representatives of Heaven; I would claim your protection for Murena.
(b) §§ 2 et quoniam to 10.
I have been reproached for undertaking this case: let me then begin by justifying myself, that my words may have weight. First I must protest against Cato's Stoic severity, and maintain, that as presiding consul I am the very man to plead for Murena. He has a claim upon me for defence of his title to office. I have just coped with Catiline; is it not human nature to feel anxious for one who is to meet the dangers I have faced? again, we must have our two consuls to open this next critical year. What if I did pass a law for the prevention of corrupt practices? May I not plead for the guiltless? I dealt severely with Catiline, it is true, but I acted perforce an uncongenial part: I do but follow my natural bent in pleading for Murena. As for you, Sulpicius, it is too bad of you to say that I act unfriendly by you; but I will calmly defend myself. Did I not support you as a candidate? yes, but to expect me to help in crushing Murena, is really going too far. He is an old friend and even you shall not make me desert him. Besides, neither my professional standing, my feelings, nor my conscience would suffer me to decline the work of his defence. Look at yourself: who but Servius gives advice to everybody? How otherwise would most men get advocates? I will not listen to such charges: I will be gentle with you, but I will plead for my friend Murena. II confutatio, $$ 11-83 ad quod velis negotium.
(1) de vita Murenae §§ 11-14.
How weak are the charges on this score! the prosecution felt bound to say something. As to his career in Asia, it was one of
hard campaigning: it was his duty to go; and why should he not adorn his father's triumph? Asia is Asia, I grant; but whether is the better, to avoid temptation, or to withstand it? the whole affair is a credit to him. As for his being a mountebank, you ought to know better, Cato, than to talk in that vein. The charge is unsubstantiated and quite out of character. You can bring nothing against my client under this head; out of the mouths of the prosecution I shew that he is without reproach.
(2) contentio dignitatis, §§ 15-53
Your claims to the consulship are very strong, Sulpicius; but so are those of Murena: you are just a match. Your depreciation of his family and puffing-up of your own is partial and not based on fact. Your family is better known to book-worms than to the people. I count you as a self-raised man, and all credit to you for it. I did hope that my exertions had gone some way towards stopping the mouths of the proud old families. I got the consulship against two patricians. Why not? You were above Murena on the roll of quaestors, you say. A mere piece of luck; and as quaestors neither of you distinguished himself much. Here you widely diverge from one another. While you went through all the labour and annoyance of a jurist's life at Rome, Murena was in the east, displaying all the most soldierly qualities as lieutenant of Lucullus. Now I for my part had rather not have brought out this contrast so strongly; but you have driven me to it. The fact is, Sulpicius, men were tired of you. I have felt the same thing myself. And clearly the soldier has far higher claims to office than the jurist. Rome and all in or under it are protected by soldiers. They are our guardians. You must not think too highly of your learning as a jurist: your other merits give you far more claim to distinction than jurisprudence ever will. The three great avenues to honour must rank thus, I military skill, 2 the eloquence of the statesman and pleader, 3 jurisprudence. The last cannot compare with the other two; it is paltry, and your hidden lore has long since been made public property. You now take your stand upon words and forms which are easier to ridicule than to explain. the proceedings before the praetor in cases of disputed title to property are foolish and absurd: the dependence of women, and the maintenance of sacred rites, ordinances of our ancestors, have alike been tampered with by these men of wordy wisdom. Yet they often cannot tell which of two words is the right one, and so use both. As I said before, this study has not the making of a consul
in it: it is too paltry, it does not confer obligations; it is tied down to a certain time of the year, and is worthless beyond the walls of Rome. It is a small, easy matter; give me two clear days, and I will come out as a jurist. Again, oratory too is a pursuit far better adapted for a public career than jurisprudence. Many a jurist has begun life as a public speaker and failed; jurisprudence was but his second string. Think of the exertions the orator must make, and the power he wields when he has made them. A man, I say, can rise to the top of the political tree in two ways,—either as a soldier or as a public speaker. I set aside your undoubted personal merits, Servius; we are talking of rising to office. In times of war and civil strife, when confusion reigns and all peaceful pursuits are at a standstill, who form the bulwark of the state? The army, to be sure. Then yield the palm to the soldier, for such as he have made Rome what she is. As for Cato's depreciation of Murena's military services and his contempt for Orientals, I can only say that it is not justified by history. If, Cato, you consider the great resources and ability of Mithridates, the resistance he offered to our arms, his vast schemes, the investment of Kyzikus and the sea-fight off Tenedos, the anxiety of the Senate and people, the glory won by Lucullus and Pompeius, you will change your tone in reference to Eastern warfare. And I maintain that in it Murena displayed the greatest firmness generalship and energy, and that this gave him as good a claim to the consulship as all our civil business-duties. Oh, but when you both were elected praetors, you were returned before him on the roll. Well, but you have no agreement to that effect with the people. And who does not know the uncertainty of the tide of popular favour, and the strange results of elections? Their whole working defies calculation. But we know of two things that went against Murena in the praetorian election, (1) his having never given any public shows, (2) the absence of those who had known his merits as a general or governor of a province. All this was reversed when he stood for the consulship. You do not appreciate the force of the army vote and the splendid games of Murena in gaining him the consulship. This is not all: look at the difference of your luck and his in the allotment of praetorial functions. He had all the openings for winning popularity, you of giving offence. Then he took a province, and earned the affections of many; you were doing your duty at Rome. Do not forget that a provincial governor can give his friends a lift now and then; yours were no doubt disappointed