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Quote of the day: Caesar rivalled the greatest orators
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History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita) by Livy
Translated by Rev. Canon Roberts
Book III Chapter 12: The Trial of Caeso.[461 BC]
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The day of trial was now at hand, and it was evident that men generally believed that their liberty depended upon the condemnation of Caeso. At last, to his great indignation, he was constrained to approach individual members of the plebs; he was followed by his friends, who were amongst the foremost men of the State. Titus Quinctius Capitolinus, who had three times been consul, after recounting his own numerous distinctions and those of his family asserted that neither in the Quinctian House nor in the Roman State did there exist another such example of personal merit and youthful courage. He had been the foremost soldier in his army, he had often fought under his own eyes. Spurius Furius said that Caeso had been sent by Quinctius Capitolinus to his assistance when in difficulties, and that no single person had done more to retrieve the fortunes of the day. Lucius Lucretius, the consul of the previous year, in the splendour of his newly-won glory, associated Caeso with his own claim to distinction, enumerated the actions in which he had taken part, recounted his brilliant exploits on the march and in the field, and did his utmost to persuade them to retain as their own fellow-citizen a young man furnished with every advantage that nature and fortune could give, who would be an immense power in any state of which he became a member, rather than drive him to an alien people. As to what had given such offence -- his hot temper and audacity -- these faults were being continually lessened; what was wanting in him -- prudence -- was increasing day by day. As his faults were decaying and his virtues maturing, they ought to allow such a man to live out his years in the common-wealth. Among those who spoke for him was his father, Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus. He did not go over all his merits again, for fear of aggravating the feeling against him, but he pleaded for indulgence to the errors of youth; he himself had never injured any one either by word or deed, and for his own sake he implored them to pardon his son. Some refused to listen to his prayers, lest they should incur the displeasure of their friends; others complained of the maltreatment they had received, and by their angry replies showed beforehand what their verdict would be. Iam aderat iudicio dies apparebatque uolgo homines in damnatione Caesonis libertatem agi credere. Tum demum coactus cum multa indignitate prensabat singulos. Sequebantur necessarii, principes ciuitatis. T. Quinctius Capitolinus, qui ter consul fuerat, cum multa referret sua familiaeque decora, adfirmabat neque in Quinctia gente neque in ciuitate Romana tantam indolem tam maturae uirtutis unquam exstitisse; suum primum militem fuisse, se saepe uidente pugnasse in hostem. Sp. Furius, missum ab Quinctio Capitolino sibi eum in dubiis suis rebus uenisse subsidio; neminem unum esse cuius magis opera putet rem restitutam. L. Lucretius, consul anni prioris, recenti gloria nitens, suas laudes participare cum Caesone, memorare pugnas, referre egregia facinora nunc in expeditionibus, nunc in acie; suadere et monere iuuenem egregium, instructum naturae fortunaeque omnibus bonis, maximum momentum rerum eius ciuitatis in quamcumque uenisset, suum quam alienum mallent ciuem esse. Quod offendat in eo, feruorem et audaciam, aetatem cottidie auferre: quod desideretur, consilium, id in dies crescere. Senescentibus uitiis, maturescente uirtute, sinerent tantum uirum senem in ciuitate fieri. Pater inter hos L. Quinctius, cui Cincinnato cognomen erat, non iterando laudes, ne cumularet inuidiam, sed ueniam errori atque adulescentiae petendo, sibi qui non dicto, non facto quemquam offendisset, ut condonarent filium orabat. Sed alii auersabantur preces aut uerecundia aut metu, alii se suosque mulcatos querentes atroci responso iudicium suum praeferebant.