Demonstrativum pro Marco Cicerone
by: P. Dionysius Mus
PARS I | PARS II | PARS III | PARS IV | PARS V | PARS VI | PARS VII
Quirites! If you think this trial is necessary, and in my opinion it isn't, you should also consider the greatness of this person you want to see condemned. For Marcus Tullius Cicero is a very honourable man. We see here a man with a warm affection towards his family and friends. We have seen how a homo novus has to struggle with almost impassable difficulties to reach a place among the leading figures. He also has shown his great and sharp mind, which finds in literature, art, philosophy and science the necessary powers to live a life full of deeds, serving an ideal. So if you, Quirites, want to condemn this man, you are wrong, for Marcus Tullius Cicero is a very honourable man.
Marcus Tullius Cicero was born in a family from the local rank of equites in Arpinum, where he lived in a rather modest welfare. He came to Rome where he was educated by some of the finest teachers, like Lucius Aelius Stilo, Mucius Scaevola and Philoon of Larissa. Therafter he went to Rhodos to follow courses from Poseidonios and the great Apollonius Molon. In 678 AUC he started his cursus honorum as quaestor in Sicilia, where he became very popular for his unselfish policy. Because of this popularity he was asked to defend the Sicilians in their famous trial against the extortionist Verres. He succeeded and Verres went into exile since no one was willing to defend him because of Cicero's staggering proofs. Marcus Tullius Cicero became one of the greatest ever in the art of rhetoric: "Non immerito ab omnibus aetatis suae regnare in iudiciis dictus est, apud posteros vero id consecutus, ut Cicero iam non hominis nomen, sed eloquentiae habeatur". His many talents make Marcus Tullius Cicero a very honourable man.
After his job as quaestor he completed the cursus honorum 'anno suo': he became aedilis in 684 AUC, praetor in 687 AUC and consul in 690 AUC. And it was during his term as consul that he defended the Res Publica by discovering and putting an end to the terrifying conspiration by Lucius Sergius Catilina. This disgusting individual was making preparations to overthrow the republic's institutions by no other means than direct war. At first Catilina tried to take over the power in a legal way, but since this did not succeed, he decided to take the illegal way to reach his personal goals. Catilina used an unbelievable fury against the Res Publica; Catilina planned several criminal activities like arson, military attacks and murder; Catilina was thus guilty of treason towards the institutions and people of the republic. We should be grateful for everything Marcus Tullius has done to save our Rome. Thus Marcus Tullius Cicero is a very honourable man.
To illustrate Marcus Tullius' feeling of Iustitia and his affection towards this fine quality, a little anecdote: under the rule of dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla, in 672 AUC, the young Sextus Roscius was wrongfully accused of the murder of his own father. This trial had a political background, since there was a friend of Sulla behind the false accusation. Therefore not one of the renowned advocates dared to take the defense upon them. Marcus Tullius Cicero, who had not yet made clear his political ambitions, took up the defense. His wonderful and accurate speech Pro Roscio resulted in the acquittal of Sextus Roscius. Thus Cicero made a spectacular start in politics and he set out his career as a great rhetorician.
He is a defender of the Senate's authority, he is a champion of peace and order, he is very interested in the concerns of the plebeians; in short: he is a friend of the people. And concerning his heavy reaction against Lucius Sergius Catilina and his followers, Marcus Tullius has spoken the following words: "Though there are some men in this body who either do not see what threatens, or dissemble what they do see; who have fed the hope of Catilina by mild sentiments, and have strengthened the rising conspiracy by not believing it; influenced by whose authority many, and they not wicked, but only ignorant, if I punished him would say that I had acted cruelly and tyrannically. But I know that if he arrives at the camp of Manlius to which he is going, there will be no one so stupid as not to see that there has been a conspiracy; no one so hardened as not to confess it. But if this man alone were put to death, I know that this disease of the republic would be only checked for a while, not eradicated for ever. But if he banishes himself; and takes with him all his friends, and collects at one point all the ruined men from every quarter, then not only will this full-grown plague of the republic be extinguished and eradicated, but also the root and seed of all future evils." Everyone here should consider these words and realize that Marcus Tullius Cicero is a very honourable man.
About Lucius Sergius Catilina not much good can be said: "alieni adpetens, sui profusus; satis eloquentiae, sapientiae parum". He had an army against Rome ready in camps in Etruria, he tried to murder consul Marcus Tullius Cicero, he is guilty of arson and blind violence against Roman citizens. In short: Catilina is a terrorist. And terrorists do not deserve the same treatment like ordinary Roman citizens. Terrorists should be severely punished, and an example was necessary. As our colleague Marcus Porcus Cato expressed: seeing that the Res Publica has been heavily endangered by criminal acts committed by some villains, seeing that their guilt is clearly proven by the indications from Volturcius and the representatives of the Allobroges, seeing that they have confessed planning murder, arson and other cruel crimes against their own citizens, magistrates and patria, they should be punished according to the elderly tradition for criminals who committed capital offenses. Therefore everyone should agree that Marcus Tullius Cicero did exactly the right thing, thus saving the Res Publica from this terrifying danger. This way, Marcus Tullius Cicero remains a very honourable man.
I want to conclude with expressing my sympathy and many thanks towards Marcus Tullius for his quick and strict reaction against this conspiracy, and I hope everyone will join me in these feelings. I believe Marcus Tullius has saved our Res Publica, an act for which we gave him the title of "Savior of the Fatherland".
Quirites! I hope not all of you have already forgotten why we gave him this title. Such a worthy and decent man, someone who has always had the best intentions for this Res Publica, let him not be condemned, for he is a very honourable man!