2.4: M. Tullius Cicero, “For Marcus Caelius,”
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M. Tullius Cicero, “For Marcus Caelius,” C. D. Yonge, Ed. M. Tullius Cicero. The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, literally translated by C. D. Yonge, B. A. London. George Bell & Sons, York Street, Covent Garden. 1891. Here pp. 246ff.
Cicero gives a speech in defense of Marcus Caelius, a member of the equestrian order  and an acquaintance of Cicero. As a young man, Marcus Coelius had prosecuted Caius Antonius, Cicero’s co-consul , and also prosecuted Lucius Atratinus for bribery and corruption. Lucius’ son then impeached Marcus Caelius for public violence, for having been involved in the murder of Dio, head of the Roman embassy in Alexandria , and for attempting to poison Clodia, sister of Clodius. It appears Clodia may have instigated the prosecution of Caelius, who had been her lover and a tenant of Clodius for a house on the Palatine hill. Marcus Caelius was acquitted. The first part of the speech is omitted here.
Cicero makes an allusion to Euripides’ Medea  as sick at heart wounded in love and then claims that “it was this Medea of the Palatine Hill , and this migration, which has been the cause of all his misfortunes to this young man; or rather, of all the things that have been said about him.” He counters allegations brought against Marcus for luxury, seductions, and wantonness by pleading his youth and the prevalence of these vices in Rome. He goes on to say that there are two special counts in the indictment levelled against Marcus Caelius: gold and poison.
 “And in both of them one person is concerned. Gold is said to have been taken from Coldia; poison is said to have been sought for, for the purpose of being given to Clodia. All the other statement are not charges, but are rather pieces of abuse prompted by a petulant quarrel, than cited as part of a criminal investigation. To call a man an adulterer, an immodest man, a pimp, is abuse, not accusation. For there is no foundation for such charges; they have nothing to rest upon; they are mere abusive expressions poured forth by an accuser in a passion, without any authority. Of these two charges I see the source, I see the author, I see the certain originator and mainspring. Gold was wanted; he received it from Clodia; he received it without any witness; he had it as long as he wanted it. I see here a great proof of some very extraordinary intimacy. Again, he wanted to kill her; he sought for poison; he tampered with every one with whom he could; he prepared it; he arranged a place; he brought it. Again, I see that a violent quarrel has sprung up between them, and caused a furious hatred. Our whole business in this part of the case, O judges, is with Clodia, a woman not only of high rank, but also notorious; of whom I will say nothing except for the sake of repelling some accusation.
 But you are aware, O Cnaeus Domitius, as a man of your eminent wisdom must be, that we have in this matter to deal with no one but her; for if she does not say that she lent the money to Caelius, if she does not accuse him and say that poison was prepared by him for her, then we are acting wantonly and groundlessly, in mentioning the name of a mother of a family in a way so different from what is due to a Roman matron. But if, if you only take away that woman, there is no longer any charge against Caelius, nor have the accusers any longer any resources by which to attack him, then what is our duty as the advocates of his cause, except to repel those who pursue him? And, indeed, I would do so still more vigorously, if I had not a quarrel with that woman's husband—brother, I meant to say; I am always making this mistake. At present I will proceed with moderation, and go no further than my own duty to my client and the nature of the cause which I am pleading compels me. For I have never thought it my duty to engage in quarrels with any woman, especially with one whom all men have always considered everybody's friend rather than any one's enemy.
 But still I will first put this question to her herself, whether she wishes me to deal with her strictly, and gravely, and according to old-fashioned notions of right and wrong; or indulgently, mercifully, and courteously? If I am to proceed in the old-fashioned way and manner of pleading, then I must summon up from the shades below one of those bearded old men,—not men with those little bits of imperials which she takes such a fancy to, but a man with that long shaggy beard which we see on the ancient statues and images,—to reproach the woman, and to speak in my stead, lest she by any chance should get angry with me. Let, then, some one of her own family rise up, and above all others that great blind Claudius of old time. For he will feel the least grief, since he will not see her. And, in truth, if he can come forth from the dead, he will deal thus with her; he will say,—“Woman, what have you to do with Caelius? What have you to do with a very young man? What have you to do with one who does not belong to you? Why have you been so intimate with him as to lend him gold, or so much an enemy of his as to fear his poison? Had you never seen that your father, had you never heard that your uncle, your grand-father, your great-grandfather, your great-great-grand-father, were all consuls?
 Did you not know, moreover, that you were bound in wedlock to Quintus Metellus, a most illustrious and gallant man, and most devoted to his country? who from the first moment that he put his foot over his threshold, showed himself superior to almost all citizens in virtue, and glory, and dignity. When you had become his wife, and, being previously of a most illustrious race yourself, had married into a most renowned family, why was Caelius so intimate with you? Was he a relation? a connection? Was he a friend of your husband? Nothing of the sort. What then was the reason, except it was some folly or lust?
* * * Even if the images of us, the men of your family, had no influence over you, did not even my own daughter, that celebrated Quinta Claudia, admonish you to emulate the praise belonging to our house from the glory of its women? Did not that vestal virgin  Claudia recur to your mind, who embraced her father while celebrating his triumph, and prevented his being dragged from his chariot by a hostile tribune of the people? Why had the vices of your brother more weight with you than the virtues of your father, of your grandfather, and others in regular descent ever since my own time; virtues exemplified not only in the men, but also in the women? Was it for this that I broke the treaty which was concluded with Pyrrhus , that you should every day make new treaties of most disgraceful love? Was it for this that I brought water into the city, that you should use it for your impious purposes? Was it for this that I made the Appianroad , that you should travel along it escorted by other men besides your husband?”
 But why, O judges, have I brought a person on the scene, of such gravity as to make me fear that this same Appius may on a sudden turn round and begin also to accuse Caelius with the severity which belongs to the censor ? But I will look to this presently, and I will discuss it, O judges, so that I feel sure that I shall show even the most rigid scrutineers reason to approve of the habits of life of Marcus Caelius. But you, O woman, (for now I speak to you myself, without the intervention of any imaginary character) if you are thinking of making us approve of what you are doing, and what you are saying, and what you are charging us with, and what you are intending, and what you are seeking to achieve by this prosecution, you must give an intelligible and satisfactory account of your great familiarity, your intimate connection, your extraordinary union with him. The accusers talk to us about lusts, and loves, and adulteries, and Baiae , and doings on the sea-shore, and banquets, and revels, and songs, and music parties, and water parties; and intimate also that they do not mention all these things without your consent. And as for you, since, through some unbridled and headlong fury which I cannot comprehend, you have chosen these things to be brought into court, and dilated on at this trial, you must either efface the charges yourself, and show that they are without foundation, or else you must confess that no credit is to be given to any accusations which you may make, or to any evidence which you may give.
Photograph by Tyler Bell of the Temple of Venus in Baiae, Italy
 But if you wish me to deal more courteously with you, I will argue the matter thus with you. I will put away that harsh and almost boorish old man; and out of these kinsmen of yours here present I will take some one, and before all I will select your youngest brother, who is one of the best-bred men of his class, who is exceedingly fond of you, and who, on account of some childish timidity, I suppose and some groundless fears of what may happen by night, has always, when he was but a little boy, slept with you his eldest sister. Suppose, then, that he speaks to you in this way. “What are you making this disturbance about, my sister? Why are you so mad? ‘Why thus with outcry loud do you exalt / Such trifles into things of consequence?’
“You saw a young man become your neighbor; his fair complexion, his height and his countenance and eyes made an impression on you, you wished to see him oftener; you were sometimes seen in the same gardens with him; being a woman of high rank you are unable with all your riches to detain him, the son of a thrifty and financially conscious father: he kicks, he rejects you, he does not think your presents worth so much as you require of him. Try someone else. You have gardens on the Tiber , and you carefully made them in that particular spot to which all the youth of the city comes to bathe. From that spot you may every day pick out people to suit you. Why do you annoy this one man who scorns you?”
 I come now again to you, O Caelius, in your turn; and I take upon myself the authority and strictness of a father; but I doubt which father's character I shall select to assume. Shall I not [play] the part of some one of Caecilius's fathers, harsh and vehement? ‘For now, in truth, at length my bosom glows, / My heart with passion rages;’ or that other father?— ‘Oh thou unhappy, worthless son.’ Those are very hard-hearted fathers; ‘What shall I say, what wishes dare I form, / When your base actions frustrate all my prayers;’ such a father as that would say things which you would find it difficult to bear. He would say, ‘Why did you take yourself to the neighborhood of a harlot? Why did you not shun her notorious blandishments? Why did you form a connection with a woman who was nothing to you? Squander your money, throw it away; I give you leave. If you come to want, it is you yourself who will suffer for it. I shall be satisfied if I am able to spend pleasantly the small portion of my life that remains to me.’
 To this morose and severe old man Caelius would reply, that he had not departed from the right path from being led away by any passion. What proof could he give? That he had been at no expense, at no loss; that he had not borrowed any money. But it was said that he had. How few people are there who can avoid such a report, in a city so prone to evil speaking! Do you wonder that the neighbor of that woman was spoken of unfavorably, when her own brother could not escape being made the subject of conversation by profligate men? But to a gentle and considerate father such as his is, whose language would be, ‘Has he broken the doors? They shall be mended. Has he torn his garments? They shall be repaired;’ the cause of his son is easily explained. For what circumstances could there be in which he would not be able easily to defend himself? I am not saying anything now against that woman: but if there were a woman totally unlike her, who made herself common to everybody; who had always someone or other openly avowed as her lover; to whose gardens, to whose house, to whose baths the lusts of every one had free access as of their own right; a woman who even kept young men, and made up for the financial consciousness of their fathers by her liberality; if she lived, being a widow, with freedom, being a lascivious woman, with wantonness, being a rich woman, extravagantly, and being a lustful woman, after the fashion of prostitutes; am I to think anyone an adulterer who might happen to salute her with a little too much freedom?
 Someone will say, ‘Is this then the discipline which you enforce? Is this the way you train up young men? Was this the object with which a parent recommended his son to you and delivered him to you, that he might devote his youth to love and pleasure, and that you might defend this manner of life and these pursuits?’ If, O judges, any one was of such vigor of mind, and of a natural disposition so formed for virtue and continence as to reject all pleasures, and to dedicate the whole course of his life to labor of body and to wholesome training of his mind, a man who took no delight in rest or relaxation, or the pursuits of those of his own age, or games, or banquets, who thought nothing in life worth wishing for, except what was connected with glory and with dignity, that man I consider furnished and endowed with good qualities which may be called godlike. Of this class I consider were those great men, the Camilli, the Fabricii, the Curii and all those men who have achieved such mighty exploits with inadequate means. But these examples of virtue are not only not found in our practice, but they occur but rarely, even in books.
 The very records which used to contain accounts of that old fashioned strictness of morals, are worn out and that not only among us, who have adopted this school and system of life in reality more than in words, but also among the Greeks most learned men, who, though they could not act in such a manner were nevertheless at liberty to speak and write honorably and magnificently; when the habits of Greece became changed other precepts arose and prevailed. Therefore some of their wise men said that they did everything for the sake of pleasure; and even learned men were not ashamed of the degradation of uttering such a sentiment.
 Others thought that dignity ought to be united with pleasure, so as by their neatness of expression to unite things as inconsistent with one another as possible. Those who still think that the only direct road to glory is combined with toil, are left now almost solitary in their schools. For nature herself has supplied us with numerous allurements, by which virtue may be lulled asleep, and at which, she may be induced to connive; nature herself has at times pointed out to youth many slippery ways, on which it is hardly possible for it to stand, or along which it can hardly advance without some slip or downfall, and has supplied also an infinite variety of exquisite delights, by which not only that tender age, but even one which is more strongly fortified, may be caught.
Image of Giovanni Paolo Panini's oil painting "Ancient Roman Ruins" (1725-50) found in the National Museum of Ancient Art in Lisbon, Portugal
 Wherefore, if by chance you find anyone whose eyes are so well tutored as to look with scorn on the outward beauty of things; who is not captivated by any fragrance, or touch, or flavor, and who stops his ears against all the allurements of sound; I, and perhaps a few others, may think that the gods have been propitious to this man, but most people will consider that he has been treated by them as an object of their anger.
 And, O judges, both within, our own recollection and in the time of our fathers and ancestors, there have been many most excellent men and most illustrious citizens, who, after their youthful passions had cooled down, displayed, when they became of more mature and vigorous age, the most exalted virtues; of whom there is no need for me to name to you any particular instance; you yourselves can recollect plenty. For I should not wish to connect even the slightest error on the part of any brave and illustrious man with his greatest glory. But if I did choose to do so, then I could name many most eminent and most distinguished men, some of whom were notorious for excessive licentiousness in their early days, some for their profuse luxury, their enormous debts, their extravagance, and their debaucheries, but whose early errors were afterwards so veiled over by their numerous virtues, that every one felt at liberty to make excuses for and to defend their youth.
 But in Marcus Caelius (for I will speak with the greater confidence of his honorable pursuits, because, relying on your good sense, O judges, I am not afraid freely to confess some things respecting him) no luxury will be found; no extravagance; no debt; no lasciviousness; no devotion to banquets or to gluttony. Those vices, really, of the belly and the throat, age is so far from diminishing in men, that it even increases them. And loves, and those things which are called delights, and which, when men have any strength of mind, are not usually troublesome to them for any length of time, (for they wear off early and very rapidly,) never had any firm hold on this man so as to entangle or embarrass him. You have heard him, when he was speaking in his own defense.
 You have heard him before now, when he was acting as prosecutor; (I say this for the sake of defending him, not by way of boasting;) you have seen, your apprehension could not help seeing, his style of eloquence, his facility, his richness of ideas and language; and in that branch of study you saw not only his genius shine forth, which frequently, even when it is not nourished by industry, still produces great effects by its own natural vigor; but there was in him (unless I am greatly deceived by reason of my favorable inclination towards him) a degree of method implanted in him by liberal tastes, and worked up by care and hard labour. And know, O judges, that those passions which are now brought up against Caelius as an objection to him, and these studies on which I am now enlarging, cannot easily exist in the same man; for it is impossible that a mind which is devoted to lust which is hampered by love, by desire, by passion, often with overindulgence, sometimes too by embarrassment in monetary matters, can support the labor; such as they are, which we go through in speaking; not merely when actually pleading, but even in thinking.
 Do you suppose that there is any other reason, why, when the prizes of eloquence are so great when the pleasure of speaking is so great, when the glory is so high, the influence derived from it so extensive, and the honor so pure, there are and always have been so few men who devote themselves to this study? All pleasures must be trampled underfoot, all pursuit of amusement must be abandoned, O judges; sports and jesting and feasting; yes, I may almost say, the conversation of one's friends, must be shunned. And this is what deters men of this class from the labors and studies of oratory ; not that their abilities are deficient, or that their early training has been neglected.
 Would Caelius, if he had given himself up to a life of pleasure, while still a very young man, have instituted a prosecution against a man of consular rank? Would he, if he shunned this labor, if he were captivated by and entangled in the pursuit of pleasure, take his place daily among this array of orators? Would he court enmities? Would he undertake prosecutions? Would he incur danger to his life? Would he, in the sight of all the Roman people, struggle for so many months for safety or for glory?
Photograph by Diego Delso of the Temple of Augustus in Pula, Croatia
 But if there be any one who thinks that youth is to be wholly interdicted from amours with courtesans, he certainly is very strict indeed. I cannot deny what he says; but still he is at variance not only with the license of the present age, but even with the habits of our ancestors, and with what they used to consider allowable. For when was the time that men were not used to act in this manner? when was such conduct found fault with? when was it not permitted? when, in short, was the time when that which is lawful was not lawful? Here, now, I will lay down what I consider a general rule: I will name no woman in particular; I will leave the matter open for each of you to apply what I say as he pleases.
 If any woman, not being married, has opened her house to the passions of everybody, and has openly established herself in the way of life of a harlot, and has been accustomed to frequent the banquets of men with whom she has no relationship; if she does so in the city in country houses and in that most frequented place, Baiae, if in short she behaves in such a manner, not only by her gait, but by her style of dress, and by the people who are seen attending her, and not only by the eager glances of her eyes and the freedom of her conversation, but also by embracing men, by kissing them at water parties and sailing parties and banquets so as not only to seem a harlot, but a very wanton and lustful harlot, I ask you, O Lucius Herennius, if a young man should happen to have been with her, is he to be called an adulterer or a lover? does he seem to have been attacking chastity or merely to have aimed at satisfying his desires?
 I forget for the present all the injuries which you have done me, O Clodia; I banish all recollection of my own distress; I put out of consideration your cruel conduct to my relations when I was absent. You are at liberty to suppose that what I have just said was not said about you. But I ask you yourself, since the accusers say that they derived the idea of this charge from you, and that they have you yourself as a witness of its truth; I ask you, I say, if there be any woman of the sort that I have just described, a woman unlike you, a woman of the habits and profession of a harlot, does it appear an act of extraordinary baseness, or extraordinary wickedness, for a young man to have had some connection with her? If you are not such a woman,—and I would much rather believe that you are not—then, what is it that they impute to Caelius? If they try to make you out to be such a woman, then why need we fear such an accusation for ourselves, if you confess that it applies to you, and despise it? Give us then a path to and a plan for our defense. For either your modesty will supply us with the defense, that nothing has been done by Marcus Caelius with any undue wantonness; or else your impudence will give both him and everyone else very great facilities for defending themselves.
 But since my speech appears at last to have raised itself out of the shallows, and to have passed by the rocks, the rest of my course is made plain and easy to me. For there are two charges, both relating to one woman,—both imputing enormous wickedness; one respecting the gold which is said to have been received from Clodia, the other respecting the poison which the prosecutors accuse Caelius of having prepared with the view of assassinating Clodia. He took gold, as you say, to give to the slaves of Lucius Lucceius, by whom Dio of Alexandria  was slain, who at that time was living in Lucceius's house. It is a great crime to intrigue against ambassadors, or to tamper with slaves to induce them to murder their master's guest; it is a design full of wickedness, full of audacity.
 But with respect to that charge, I will first of all ask this—whether he told Clodia for what purpose he was then taking the gold, or whether he did not tell her? If he did not tell her, why was it that she gave it? If he did tell her, then she has implicated herself as an accomplice in the same wickedness. Did you dare to take gold out of your strong-box? Did you dare to strip that statue of yours of Venus  the Plunderer of men of her ornaments? But when you knew for what an enormous crime this gold was required,—for the murder of an ambassador,—for the staining of Lucius Lucceius, a most pious and upright man, with the blot of everlasting impiety—then your well-educated mind ought not to have been privy to so horrible an atrocity; your house, so open to all people, ought not to have been made an instrument in it. Above all, that most hospitable Venus of yours ought not to have been an assistant in it.
 Balbus saw that. He said that Clodia was kept in the dark, and that Caelius alleged to her as his reason for wanting the gold, that he wanted it for the ornamenting of his arms if he was as intimate with Clodia as you make him out when you say so much about his amorous propensities, he, no doubt, told her what he wanted the gold for. If he was not so intimate with her, then, no doubt, she never gave it. Therefore, if Caelius told you the truth, O you most ill-regulated woman, you knowingly gave gold to promote a crime; if he did not venture to tell you, you never gave it at all.
Photograph of the Roman Forum seen from the Arch of Septimius Severus
 But all these topics, which belong peculiarly to the orator, and which might do some service in my hands if I were to work them up and dilate upon them in this presence, not because of any natural ability that I possess, but because of my constant practice in, and habit of, speaking, I, from a view to brevity, forbear to urge. For I have, O judges, a man whom you will willingly allow to be connected with you by the religious obligation of taking a similar oath with yourselves, Lucius Lucceius, a most religious man, and a most conscientious witness; who if such guilt so calculated to compromise his credit and his fortunes had been brought into his household by Caelius, could not have failed to hear of it, and would never have been indifferent to it and would never have borne it. Could such a man as he, a man of such humanity, a man devoted to such pursuits as his, and imbued with all his learning and accomplishments, have been indifferent to the imminent danger of that man to whom he had become attached on account of these very studies and pursuits? And when he would have been most indignant at hearing of such a crime if it had been committed against a stranger, would he have omitted taking any notice of it when it affected his own guest? When he would have grieved if he had found out that such a deed had been perpetrated by strangers, would he have thought nothing of it when attempted by his own household? An action which he would blame if done in the fields or in public places, was he likely to think lightly of when it was begun in his own city and in his own house? What he would not have concealed if it threatened any country person with danger, can he, a learned man himself, be supposed to have kept secret when a plot was laid against a most learned man?
 But why, O judges, do I detain you so long? You shall have the authority and scrupulous faith of the man himself on his oath before you, and listen carefully to every word of his evidence. Read the evidence of Lucius Lucceius. [The evidence of Lucceius is read.] What more do you wait for? Do you think that the case itself, or even that truth of itself can utter any actual words in its own defense? This is the defense made by innocence,—this is the language of the cause itself,—this is the single, unassisted voice of truth.
In the circumstances of the crime itself there is no suspicion; in the facts of the case there is no argument. In the negotiation which is said to have been carried on, there is no trace of any conversation, of any opportunity, of either time or place. No one is named as having been a witness of it. No one is accused of having been privy to it. The whole accusation proceeds from a house that is hostile to him,—that is of infamous character, cruel, criminal, and lascivious. And that house, on the other hand, which is said to have been tampered with, with a view to this nefarious wickedness, is one full of integrity, dignity, kindness and piety. And from this last you have had read to you a most authoritative declaration under the sanction of an oath. So that the matter which you have to decide upon is one on which very little doubt can arise,—namely, whether a rash, lusty, furious woman appears to have invented an accusation, or a dignified, and wise, and virtuous man is to be believed to have given his evidence with a scrupulous regard to truth.
 There remains the charge respecting the poison for me to consider; a charge of which I can neither discover the origin nor guess the object. For what reason was there for Caelius desiring to give poison to that woman? Was it in order to save himself from being forced to repay the gold? Did she demand it back? Was it to save himself from being accused? Did any one impute anything to him? In short, would anyone ever have mentioned him if he had not himself instituted a prosecution against somebody? Moreover you heard Lucius Herennius say that he would never have caused annoyance to Caelius by a single word, if he had not prosecuted his intimate friend a second time on the same charge, after he had been already acquitted once. Is it credible then, that so enormous a crime was committed without any object? And do you not see that an accusation of the most enormous wickedness is invented against him in order that it may appear to have been committed for the sake of facilitating the other wickedness?
 To whom, then, did he entrust its execution? Whom did he employ as an assistant? Who was his companion? Who was his accomplice? To whom did he entrust so foul a crime; to whom did he entrust himself and his own safety? Was it to the slaves of that woman? For that is what is imputed to him. Was he, then; so insane,—he to whom at least you allow the credit of good abilities, even if you refuse him all other praise in that hostile speech of yours,—as to trust his whole safety to another man's slaves? And to what slaves? For even that makes a considerable difference? Was it to slaves whose slavery as he was aware was one of no ordinary condition, but who were in the habit of being treated with indulgence and freedom and every familiarity, by their mistress? For who is there, O judges, who does not see, who is there who does not know, that in such a house as that in which the mistress of the house lives after the fashion of a prostitute,—in which nothing is done which is fit to be mentioned out of doors,—in which debauchery, and lust, and luxury and, in short all sorts of unheard of vices and wickednesses are carried on, the slaves are not slaves at all? Men to whom everything is confided, whose agency everything is done; who are occupied in the same pleasures as their mistress; who have secrets entrusted to them, and who get even some, and that no inconsiderable, share of the daily extravagance and luxury. Was Caelius, then, not aware of this?
 For if he was as intimate with the woman as you try to make him out, he certainly knew that those slaves also were intimate with her. But if no such intimacy existed between him and her as is alleged by you, then how could he have arrived at such familiarity with her slaves?
Image by Dennis JArvis of a mosaic of slaves preparing for a banquet found in the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, Tunisia
 O ye immortal gods! Why do you at times appear to wink at the greatest crimes of men, or why do you reserve the punishment of present wickedness to a future day? For I saw, I saw, and I myself experienced that grief, the bitterest grief that I ever felt in my life, when Quintus Metellus was torn from the heart and bosom of his country, and when that man who considered himself born only for this empire, but three days after he had been in good health, flourishing in the senate-house, in the rostrum, and in the republic; while in the flower of his age, of an excellent constitution, and in the full vigor of manhood, was torn in a most unworthy manner from all good men, and from the entire state; at which time he, though dying, when on other points his senses appeared to be bewildered, retained his senses to the last as far as his recollection of the republic  was concerned; and beholding me in tears, he intimated with broken and failing voice, how great a storm he saw was impending over the city,—how great a tempest was threatening the state; and frequently striking that wall which separated his house from that of Catulus, he kept on mentioning Catulus by name, and me myself, and the republic, so as to show that he was grieving, not so much because he was dying, as because both his country and I were about to be deprived of his aid and protection.
 But, if no violence of sudden wickedness had carried off that great man, with what vigour would he, as a man of consular rank, have resisted that frantic cousin of his,—he, who as consul said in the hearing of the senate , at a time when he was beginning and endeavoring to give reins to his fury, that he would slay him with his own hand! And shall that woman, proceeding from this house, dare to speak of the rapidity of the operation of poison? Is she not afraid of the very house itself, lest she should make it utter some sound? Does she not dread the very walls, which are privy to her wickedness? does she not shudder at the recollection of that fatal and melancholy night?
But I will return to the accusation: but this mention of that most illustrious and most gallant man has both weakened my voice with weeping, and overcome my mind with sorrow.
 But still there is no mention made of whence the poison came from, or how it was prepared. They say that it was given to Publius Licinius, a modest and virtuous young man, and an intimate friend of Caelius. They say that an arrangement was entered into with the slaves, that they should come to the strangers' baths; and that Licinius should come thither also, and should give them the box containing the poison. Now, here first of all I ask this question, What was the object of all this being done in that previously arranged place? Why did not the slaves come to Caelius's house? If that great intimacy and that excessive familiarity between Caelius and Clodia still subsisted, what suspicion would have been excited by one of the slaves of that woman having been seen at Caelius's house? But if a quarrel had already sprung up between them, if the intimacy was over, and enmity had taken its place, “Hence arose those tears.” This is the cause of all that wickedness and of all those crimes.
 Very true, says he, and when the slaves had reported to their mistress the whole transaction and the guilty designs of Caelius, that crafty woman enjoined her slaves to promise Caelius everything; but in order that the poison when it was being delivered to them by Licinius, might be clearly detected, she commanded them to appoint the strangers' baths as the place where it was to he delivered in order to send in that respect friends to lie in ambush there and then on a sudden, when Licinius had arrived and was delivering the poison, to jump out, and arrest the man.
 And, in truth, I was waiting eagerly to see who those virtuous men were, who would be stated to have been witnesses of this poison having been so clearly detected. For none have been named as yet. But I have no doubt that they are men of very high authority indeed, as, in the first place, they are the intimate friends of such a woman; and, in the second place, they took upon themselves that share of the business,—that, namely, of being thrust down into the baths; which she, even were she as powerful as she could possibly wish to be, could never have prevailed on any men to do, except such as were most honorable men, and men of the very greatest natural dignity. But why do I speak of the dignity of those witnesses? Learn yourselves how virtuous and how scrupulous they are. They lay in ambush in the baths. Splendid witnesses, indeed! Then they sprung out precipitately. O men entirely devoted to their dignity! For this is the story that they make up: that when Licinius had arrived, and was holding the box of poison in his hand, and was endeavoring to deliver it to them, but had not yet delivered it, then all on a sudden those splendid nameless witnesses sprung out; and that Licinius, when he had already put out his hand to give them over the box of poison, drew it back again, and, alarmed at that an expected onset of men, took to his heels. O how great is the power of truth! which of its own power can easily defend itself against all the ingenuity, and cunning, and wisdom of men, and against the treacherous plots of all the world.
Drawing by Fortunino Matania of women bathing in a Roman bath
 But how destitute of all proof is the whole of the story of this poetess and inventress of many fables! How totally without any conceivable object or result is it! For what does she say? Why did so numerous a body of men, (for it is clear enough it was not a small number, as it was requisite that Licinius should be arrested with ease, and that the transaction should be more completely proved by the eyewitness of many witnesses,) why, I say, did so numerous a body of men let Licinius escape from their hands? For why was Licinius less liable to be apprehended when he had drawn back in order not to deliver up the box than he would have been if he had delivered it up? For those men had been placed on purpose to arrest Licinius in order that Licinius might be caught in the very fact either of having just delivered up the poison, or of still having it in his possession. This was the whole plan of the woman. This was the part allotted to those men who were asked to undertake it but why it is that they sprung forth so precipitately and prematurely as you say, I do not find stated.
 Could they spring forward at a better time than when Licinius had arrived? when he was holding in his hand the box of poison? and if after that box had been delivered to the slaves the friends of the woman had on a sudden emerged from the baths and seized Licinius, he would have implored the protection of their good faith and have denied that that box had been delivered to them by him. And how would they have reproved him? Would they have said that they had seen it? First of all that would have been to bring the imputation of a most atrocious crime on themselves besides, they would be saying that they had seen what from the spot in which they had been placed they could not possibly have seen. Therefore they showed themselves at the very nick of time when Licinius had arrived and was getting out the box, and was stretching out his hand, and delivering the poison. This is rather the end of a farce than a regular comedy; in which, when a regular end cannot be invented for if someone escapes out of someone else's hands, the whistle sounds, and the curtain drops.
 For I ask why that army under the command of the woman allowed Licinius, when embarrassed, hesitating, receding, and endeavoring to fly, to slip through their fingers? Why did they not seize him? Why did not they prove beyond all denial a crime of such enormous wickedness by his own confession, by the eye-witness of many people, by even the voice of the crime itself if I may say so? Were they afraid that so many men would not be able to get the better of one, that strong men would not be able to beat a weak man, or active men to surprise one in such a fright? No corroborative proof is to be found in the circumstances; no ground for suspicion in any part of the case, no object for or result of the crime, can be imagined. Therefore, this cause, instead of being supported by arguments, by conjecture, and by those tokens by which the truth generally has a light thrown upon it rests wholly on the witnesses. And those witnesses, O judges, I long to see, not only without the least apprehension, but with a sort of hope of great enjoyment.
 My mind is exceedingly eager to behold them, first, because they are luxurious youths, the intimate friends of a rich and high-born woman; secondly, because they are gallant men, placed by their Amazonian  general in ambush, and as a sort of garrison to the baths. And, when I see them, I will ask them how they lay hid, and where; whether it was a canal, or a second Trojan horse , which bore and concealed so many invincible men waging war for the sake of a woman? And this I will compel them to tell me, why so many gallant men did not either at once seize this man, who was but a single individual, and as slight and weak a man as you see, while he was standing there; or, at all events, why they did not pursue him when he fled.
And, in truth, they will never be able to get out of their perplexity, if they ever do go into that witness-box; not though they may be ever so witty and talkative at banquets, and sometimes, over their wine, even eloquent. For the forum  is one thing, and the banqueting couch another. The benches of counselors are very different from the sofas of revelers. A tribunal  of judges is not particularly like a row of hard-drinkers. In short, the radiance of the sun is a very different thing from the light of lamps. So that we will soon scatter all those gentlemen's delicate airs, all their absurdities, if they do appear. But if they will be guided by me; let them apply themselves to some other task; let them curry the favor of someone else by some other means; let them display their capacity in other employments; let them flourish in that woman's house in beauty; let them regulate her expenses let them cling to her, sup with her, serve her in every possible way, but let them spare the lives and fortunes of innocent men.
 But those slaves have been emancipated by the advice of her relations,—most highly born and illustrious men. At last then we have found something which that woman is said to have done by the advice and authority of her own relations,—men of the highest respectability of character. But I wish to know what proof there is in that emancipation of slaves, so that either any charge against Caelius can be made out of that, or any examination of the slaves themselves by means of torture prevented, or any pretext found for giving rewards to slaves who were privy to too many transactions which it is desired to keep secret? But her relations advised it. Why should not they advise it, when you yourself stated that you were reporting to them a matter which you had not received information of from others, but which had been discovered by yourself?
Marble relief of two roman slaves wearing collars in the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology in Oxford, England
 Here also we wonder whether any most obscene story followed the tale of that imaginary box. There is nothing which may not seem applicable to such a woman as that. The matter has been heard of, and has been the subject of universal conversation. You have long ago perceived, O judges, what I wish to say, or rather what I wish not to say. For even if such a crime was committed, it certainly was not committed by Caelius; for what concern was it of his? It may perhaps have been committed by some young man, not so much foolish as destitute of modesty. But if it be a mere fiction, it is not indeed a very modest invention, but still it is not destitute of wit;—one which in truth the common conversation and common opinion of men would never have sealed with their approbation, if every sort of story which involved any kind of infamy did not appear consistent with and suited to that woman's character.
 The cause has now been fully stated by me, O judges, and summed up. You now understand how important an action this is which has been submitted to your decision; how serious a charge is confided to you. You are presiding over an investigation into a charge of violence;—into a law which concerns the empire, the majesty of the state, the condition of the country, and the safety of all the citizens;—a law which Quintus Catulus passed at a time when armed dissensions were dividing the people, and when the republic was almost at its last gasp;—a law which, after the flame which raged so fiercely in my consulship had been allayed, extinguished the smoking relics of the conspiracy. Under this law the youth of Marcus Caelius is demanded, not for the sake of enduring any punishment called for by the republic, but in order to be sacrificed to the lust and profligate pleasures of a woman.
 And even in this place the condemnation of Marcus Camurtius and Caius Caesernius is brought up again! Oh the folly, or shall I rather say, oh the extraordinary impudence! Do you dare,—you prosecutors,—when you come from that woman's house, to make mention of those men? Do you dare to reawaken the recollection of so enormous a crime, which is not even now dead, but is only smothered by its antiquity? For on account of what charge, or what fault did those men fall? Truly, because they endeavored to avenge the grief and suffering of that same woman caused by the injury which they believed she had received from Vettius. Was, then, the cause of Camurtius and Caesernius brought up again in order that the name of Vettius might be heard of in connection with this cause, and that farcical old story, suited to the pen of Afranius , might be rubbed up again? For though they were certainly not liable under the law concerning violence, they were still so implicated in that crime, that they deemed men who ought never to be released from the shackles of the law.
 But why is Marcus Caelius brought before this court? when no charge properly belonging to this mode of investigation is imputed to him, nor indeed anything else of such a nature that, though it may not exactly come under the provisions of my law, still calls for the exercise of your severity. His early youth was devoted to strict discipline; and to those pursuits by which we are prepared for these forensic labors,—for taking part in the administration of the republic,—for honor, and glory, and dignity * * * * and to those friendships with his elders, whose industry and temperance he might most desire to imitate; and to those studies of the youths of his own age: so that he appeared to be pursuing the same course of glory as the most virtuous and most highly-born of the citizens.
 Afterwards, when he had advanced somewhat in age and strength, he went into Africa, as a comrade of Quintus Pompeius the proconsul, one of the most temperate of men, and one of the strictest in the performance of every duty. And as his paternal property and estate lay in that province, he thought that some knowledge of its habits and feelings would be usefully acquired by him, now that he was of an age which our ancestors thought adapted for gaining that sort of information. He departed from Africa, having gained the most favorable opinion of Pompeius, as you shall learn from Pompeius's own evidence. He then wished, according to the old-fashioned custom, and following the example of those young men who afterwards turned out most eminent men and most illustrious citizens in the state, to signalize his industry in the eyes of the Roman people, by some very conspicuous prosecution.
 I wish indeed that his desire for glory had led him in some other direction; but the time for this complaint has passed by. He prosecuted Caius Antonius, my colleague; an unhappy man, to whom the recollection of the great service which he did the republic was no benefit, but to whom the belief of the evil which he had designed was the greatest prejudice. After that he never was behind any of his fellows in his constant appearance in the forum, in his incessant application to business and to the causes of his friends, and in the great influence which he acquired over his relations. He achieved by his labor and diligence all those objects which they cannot attain who are other than vigilant, and sober, and industrious men.
Drawing, "Architectural Capriccio with Roman Monuments and Washerwomen", found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City
 At this turning-point of his life, (for I place too much reliance on your humanity and on your good sense to conceal anything,) the fame of the young man stood trembling in the balance, owing to his new acquaintance with this woman, and his unfortunate neighborhood to her, and his want of habituation to pleasure; for the desire of pleasure when it has been too long pent up, and repressed, and chained down in early youth, sometimes bursts forth on a sudden, and throws down every barrier. But from this course of life, and from being in this way the subject of common conversation, (though his excesses were not by any means as great as report made them out to be;)—however, from this course of life, I say, whatever it was, he soon emerged, and delivered himself wholly from it and raised himself out of it, and he is now so far removed from the discredit of any familiarity with that woman, that he is occupied in warding off the attacks which are instigated against him by her enmity and hatred.
 And in order to put a violent end to the reports which had arisen of his luxury and inactivity,—(what he did, he did in fact greatly against my will, and in spite of my strongest remonstrances, but still he did it,)—he instituted a prosecution against a friend of mine for bribery and corruption. And after he is acquitted he pursues him still, drags him back before the court, refuses to be guided by any one of us, and is far more violent than I approve of. But I am not speaking of wisdom,—which indeed does not belong to men of his age,—I am speaking of his ardent spirit, of his desire for victory, of the eagerness of his soul in the pursuit of glory. Those desires indeed in men of our age ought to have become more limited and moderate, but in young men, as in herbs, they show what ripeness of virtue and what great crops are likely to reward our industry. In truth, youths of great ability have always required rather to be restrained from the pursuit of glory, than to be spurred on to it: more things required to be pruned away from that age,—if indeed, it deserves distinction for ability and genius,—than to be implanted in it.
 If therefore, the energy, and fierceness, and pertinacity of Caelius appear to any one to have boiled over too much, either in respect of his voluntarily incurring, or of his mode of carrying on enmities; if even any of the most trifling particulars of his conduct in this respect seem offensive to any one; or if anyone feels displeased at the magnificence of his purple robe, or at the troops of friends who escort him, or at the general splendor and brilliancy of his appearance, let him recollect that all these things will soon pass away, -- that a riper age, and circumstances, and the progress of time, will soon have softened down all of them.
Preserve, therefore, for the republic, O judges, a citizen devoted to liberal studies , and to the most virtuous party in the state, and to all good men. I promise you this, -- and I give this undertaking to the republic, provided we ourselves have by our conduct given satisfaction to the republic, -- that Caelius’s conduct will never be at variance with our own. And I promise this, not only because I rely on the intimacy that subsists between him and me, but also because he has taken upon himself already the obligation of the most stringent engagements. For a man who has ventured on such a step as that of prosecuting a man of consular rank because he says that the republic has been injured by his violence, cannot possibly behave as a turbulent citizens in the republic himself: a man who will not allow another to be at peace, even after he has been acquitted of bribery and corruption, can never himself become a briber of others with impunity.
 For a man who has ventured on such a step as that of prosecuting a man of consular rank because he says that the republic has been injured by his violence, cannot possibly behave as a turbulent citizen in the republic himself: a man who will not allow another to be at peace, even after he has been acquitted of bribery and corruption, can never himself become a briber of others with impunity. The republic, O judges, has two prosecutions, which have been carried on by Marcus Caelius, as pledges to secure it from any danger from him and guarantees of his good-will and devotion. Wherefore I do pray and entreat you, O judges, after Sextus Clodius has been acquitted within these few days in this very city;—a man whom you have seen for the last two years acting on all occasions as the minister or leader of sedition ;—a man who has burnt sacred temples and even the census of the Roman people and all the public records and registers  with his own hands;—a man without property, without honesty, without hope, without a home, without any character or position, polluted in face, and tongue, and hand, and in every particular of his life;—a man who has degraded the monument of Catulus, who has pulled down my house, and burnt that belonging to my brother;—who on the Palatine hill, and in the sight of all the city, stirred up the slaves to massacre and to the conflagration of the city;—I entreat you, I say, not to suffer that man to have been acquitted in this city by the influence of a woman, and at the same time to allow Marcus Caelius to be sacrificed, in the same city, to a woman's lusts. I entreat you never to permit the same woman, in conjunction with a man who is at the same time her brother and her husband, to save a most infamous robber, and to overwhelm a most honorable and virtuous young man.
 And when you have given due consideration to the fact of his youth, then place also before your eyes, I entreat you, the old age of his miserable father whom you see before you; whose whole dependence is on this his only son; who reposes on the hopes which he has formed of him; who fears nothing but the disasters which may befall him. Support, I pray you, that old man, now a suppliant for your mercy, the slave of your power, who while he throws himself at your feet, so appeals more strongly still to your virtuous habits, and to your kind and right feelings; support him, I say, moved either by the recollection of your own parents, or by the affection with which you regard your own children, so as, while relieving the misery of another, to yield to your own pious or indulgent dispositions. Do not, O judges, cause this old man, who is already, by the silent progress of nature, declining and hastening to his end, to fail prematurely through a wound inflicted by you, before the day which his natural destiny has appointed for him.
 Do not overthrow this other man, now flourishing in the prime of life, now that his virtue has just taken firm root, as it were by some whirlwind or sudden tempest. Preserve the son for the father, the father for the son, lest you should appear either to have despised the old age of a man almost in despair, or on the other hand not only to have abstained from cherishing, but even to have struck down and crushed, a youth rich with the greatest promise. And if you do preserve him to yourselves, to his own relations, and to the republic, you will have him dedicated, devoted, and wholly bound to you and to your children, and you will enjoy, O judges, in the greatest possible degree, the abundant and lasting fruits of all his exertions and labors.
Image of Giovanni Paolo Panini's oil painting "Roman Capriccio: The Pantheon and Other Monuments" (1735) found in the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indianapolis, Indiana
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 An ancient Greek play about the myth of Jason and Medea.
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