Iudiciale pro M. Cicerone
by: M. Pomponius Lupus
PARS I | PARS II | PARS III | PARS IV | PARS V | PARS VI | PARS VII
Honourable members of the jury, in a trial such as this there shouldn't be made a single mistake and I will therefore simply tell you facts. Facts for which there are many witnesses and by merely presenting you with a detailed outline of what really happened, you will all be convinced that my client, Marcus Tullius Cicero, should rather be greatly honoured than be falsely accused.
Falsely accused I say, because the only motive for this slanderous act is revenge. Revenge from a man who has profaned the Holy Rites, who has lied in court and who was almost rightfully sentenced by the testimony of a loyal citizen, my client, Cicero. This man Clodius, however, has bought his way to freedom and is now out for revenge on the one man who didn't fall for his money, who refused to forsake his duties and who testified against him for the good of this City!
Allow me then, Honourable members of the court, to present to you the facts, the motives that led to this trial.
Some time ago, this City was in a crisis. Catiline had lost two campaigns for consul and this frustrated him, but instead of thinking of a way to gather more votes by doing good for this City, he intended to seize it by force! As Quintus Arrius would later testify, this man was already gathering an army in Etruria hell-bent on conquering the City that did not want him as a consul. It is all thanks to my client, Cicero, that this monstrous plan failed. Knowing that Cicero was not going to let any harm come to the City, Catiline resolved to murder him and sent two assassins to the house of Cicero: Marcius and Cethegus. Fortuna, however, made them fail in their attempt and Cicero called the Senate together to confront Catiline with this affair. Refusing to resort to weapons to solve a problem, Cicero took Catiline on with words. Immediately after the accusations, Catiline fled the City and gathered an army of over 20.000 men, making it absolutely clear that he would not give up his grotesque desires to conquer Rome. Antonius was commanded to deal with him, while Cicero would keep the City safe for its citizens by eradicating from it all accomplices of Catiline.
Cornelius Lentulus was left in the city by Catiline to keep his followers together. This man was once accused of a crime, but after bribing the jury, for that is the nature of those who follow Catiline, he won the trial by two votes, and complained that he had paid too much, for he would have been free by bribing just one as well. This man now wanted to bring Rome to a halt to aid Catiline and devised a simple yet horrible plan: he intended to kill the entire Senate, kill as many innocent citizens as possible, burn the city down and spare only the children of Pompeius, who he would use as pledges of his reconciliation with Pompeius. They had brought weapons and torches to the house of Cethegus and divided the city in parts so that they could burn down our City more efficiently. They even directed men towards the aqueducts with the order to kill every decent citizen who wanted to use the water to save his children from being burned alive.
Cicero, however, was guarding Rome and through his informants he managed to obtain letters from Lentulus saying that all slaves of Gaul were to be set free and march with Catiline towards Rome as well. For those man held nothing sacred anymore and had now even made an agreement with ambassadors of the Allobreges, a tribe from Gaul. Cicero then took these letters to the Senate and after other accusations by Piso and Sulpicius, both trustworthy senators, Lentulus was convicted and lost his office.
The next day, the debate began on how to punish the men who were planning to execute this monstrous plan. There were two camps in the Senate, a group around Caesar who did not wanted to put them to death and a group around Cato who urged for the utmost punishment. After long discussions, Cato won the debate and it was again up to Cicero to execute the punishment that the Senate had decided upon. Taking his responsibility, Marcus Tullius Cicero was determined to bring peace and safety to the citizens of Rome again, and he set out with a couple of officers. Lentulus, Cethegus and several others were executed that day on command of the Senate and to save Rome from a most horrible fate.
That same evening Cicero was complimented by citizens and nobles alike, for preventing such a disaster from happening could be done again, but to do it with so little disturbance, trouble and commotion was truly extraordinary. By then all citizens knew that they owed their safety and freedom to Cicero all that time and they loved him for it. Seeing what had happened to Lentulus and Cethegus, other followers of Catiline quickly switched sides and his army was defeated, thus ending these dark pages in the history of our City. Marcus Tullius Cicero was then honoured by Cato and the people with the name "Father of the Country", as a token of their respect of what he had done for Rome.
And now, the very same Marcus Tullius Cicero, the "Father of the Country", stands accused by this Clodius, who accuses him of having executed Romans without a trial, namely the conspirators Lentulus, Cethegus and those others that desired to kill the Senate of Rome, to kill the citizens of Rome, to burn down Rome!
Allow me to explain to you how someone can become so bitter, and so consumed by lust for revenge, that he resorts to something as ridiculous as this.
Clodius had fallen in love with Pompeia, a woman already married, married to Gaius Julius Caesar himself! Knowing what an unholy love he carried with him and wanting to avoid all competition, he dressed up as a woman and broke into Caesar's house like a thief in the night! In doing so, Clodius, or should I say Clodia, desecrated the Holy Rites that were performed at that time and has desecrated all moral values sacred to Rome by hinding behind woman's clothes.
Luckily his foul presence there was discovered and a trial against him began. A trial in which again he proved not to care the least for moral values. For during the entire trial he lied about everything saying he was not even in Rome at that time and thus showing his contempt for this court. Seeing what was going on, my client, Cicero, could not bear to watch any longer how this blasphemous excuse for the Roman values continued to dishonour himself and all Romans with him by doing everything that was needed to avoid taking responsibility. And so he told the truth, he had spoken with Clodius that very day in his own house, which proved his perjury. Clodius, however, knowing that this honest testimony would mean his conviction, then resorted to the only thing he still deemed holy: his money. Again he showed his contempt for this court as he bought himself out of trouble, refusing to take any responsibility at all, like the spoiled little boy of a rich-man he is.
And so we stand here today. On the one hand there is Clodius, a young man who has profaned Holy Rites by dressing up as a woman and breaking into Caesar's house, who committed perjury to the court and who bought himself a way out of trouble. Wanting revenge he, breaker of nearly all Roman values, now accuses my client, the "Father of the Country", who has saved Rome from the threat of Catiline, who testified against Clodius when he was trying to get rid of his responsibility and who has always upheld the highest moral values.
Honourable members of the jury, good people of Rome, it is not Marcus Tullius Cicero who stands on trial here, it is every single Roman value that stands on trial here, it is every great Roman out of our proud history that stands on trial here, it is the very essence of Rome that stands on trial here, for if this man, this symbol af Roman values, this Father of the Country, were to be convicted, then all that has been done for Rome to make Her great will be lost.