Conspiracy of Catiline and The Jurgurthine War

Part 1 out of 5

Produced by David Starner, Marc D'Hooghe, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.






The Introduction, I.-IV. The character of Catiline, V. Virtues of the
ancient Romans, VI.-IX. Degeneracy of their posterity, X.-XIII.
Catiline's associates and supporters, and the arts by which he
collected them, XIV. His crimes and wretchedness, XV. His tuition of
his accomplices, and resolution to subvert the government, XVI. His
convocation of the conspirators, and their names, XVII. His concern in
a former conspiracy, XVIII., XIX. Speech to the conspirators, XX. His
promises to them, XXI. His supposed ceremony to unite them, XXII. His
designs discovered by Fulvia, XXIII. His alarm on the election of
Cicero to the consulship, and his design in engaging women in his
cause, XXIV. His accomplice, Sempronia, characterized, XXV. His
ambition of the consulship, his plot to assassinate Cicero, and his
disappointment in both, XXVI. His mission of Manlius into Etruria, and
his second convention of the conspirators, XXVII. His second attempt
to kill Cicero; his directions to Manlius well observed, XXVIII. His
machinations induce the Senate to confer extraordinary power on the
consuls, XXIX. His proceedings are opposed by various precautions,
XXX. His effrontery in the Senate, XXXI. He sets out for Etruria,
XXXII. His accomplice, Manlius, sends a deputation to Marcius, XXXIII.
His representations to various respectable characters, XXXIV. His
letter to Catulus, XXXV. His arrival at Manlius's camp; he is declared
an enemy by the Senate; his adherents continue faithful and resolute,
XXXVI. The discontent and disaffection of the populace in Rome,
XXXVII. The old contentions between the patricians and plebeians,
XXXVIII. The effect which a victory of Catiline would have produced,
XXXIX. The Allobroges are solicited to engage in the conspiracy, XL.
They discover it to Cicero, XLI. The incaution of Catiline's
accomplices in Gaul and Italy, XLII. The plans of his adherents at
Rome, XLIII. The Allobroges succeed in obtaining proofs of the
conspirators' guilt, XLIV. The Allobroges and Volturcius are arrested
by the contrivance of Cicero, XLV. The principal conspirators at Rome
are brought before the Senate, XLVI. The evidence against them, and
their consignment to custody, XLVII. The alteration in the minds of
the populace, and the suspicions entertained against Crassus, XLVIII.
The attempts of Catulus and Piso to criminate Caesar, XLIX. The plans
of Lentulus and Cethegus for their rescue, and the deliberations of
the Senate, L. The speech of Caesar on the mode of punishing the
conspirators, LI. The speech of Cato on the same subject, LII. The
condemnation of the prisoners; the causes of Roman greatness, LIII.
Parallel between Caesar and Cato, LIV. The execution of the criminals,
LV. Catiline's warlike preparations in Etruria, LVI. He is compelled
by Metullus and Antonius to hazard an action, LVII. His exhortation to
his men, LVIII. His arrangements, and those of his opponents, for the
battle, LIX. His bravery, defeat, and death, LX., LXI.

* * * * *

I. It becomes all men, who desire to excel other animals,[1] to strive,
to the utmost of their power,[2] not to pass through life in obscurity,
[3] like the beasts of the field,[4] which nature has formed groveling[5]
and subservient to appetite.

All our power is situate in the mind and in the body.[6] Of the mind
we rather employ the government;[7] of the body the service.[8] The
one is common to us with the gods; the other with the brutes. It
appears to me, therefore, more reasonable[9]to pursue glory by means
of the intellect than of bodily strength, and, since the life which we
enjoy is short, to make the remembrance of us as lasting as possible.
For the glory of wealth and beauty is fleeting and perishable; that of
intellectual power is illustrious and immortal.[10]

Yet it was long a subject of dispute among mankind, whether military
efforts were more advanced by strength of body, or by force of
intellect. For, in affairs of war, it is necessary to plan before
beginning to act,[11] and, after planning, to act with promptitude
and vigor.[12] Thus, each[13] being insufficient of itself, the one
requires the assistance of the other.[14]

II. In early times, accordingly, kings (for that was the first title
of sovereignty in the world) applied themselves in different ways;[15]
some exercised the mind, others the body. At that period, however,[16]
the life of man was passed without covetousness;[17] every one was
satisfied with his own. But after Cyrus in Asia[18] and the
Lacedaemonians and Athenians in Greece, began to subjugate cities and
nations, to deem the lust of dominion a reason for war, and to imagine
the greatest glory to be in the most extensive empire, it was then at
length discovered, by proof and experience,[19] that mental power has
the greatest effect in military operations. And, indeed,[20] if the
intellectual ability[21] of kings and magistrates[22] were exerted to
the same degree in peace as in war, human affairs would be more
orderly and settled, and you would not see governments shifted from
hand to hand,[23] and things universally changed and confused. For
dominion is easily secured by those qualities by which it was at first
obtained. But when sloth has introduced itself in the place of industry,
and covetousness and pride in that of moderation and equity, the fortune
of a state is altered together with its morals; and thus authority is
always transferred from the less to the more deserving.[24]

Even in agriculture,[25] in navigation, and in architecture, whatever
man performs owns the dominion of intellect. Yet many human beings,
resigned to sensuality and indolence, un-instructed and unimproved,
have passed through life like travellers in a strange country[26]; to
whom, certainly, contrary to the intention of nature, the body was a
gratification, and the mind a burden. Of these I hold the life and
death in equal estimation[27]; for silence is maintained concerning
both. But he only, indeed, seems to me to live, and to enjoy life,
who, intent upon some employment, seeks reputation from some ennobling
enterprise, or honorable pursuit.

But in the great abundance of occupations, nature points out different
paths to different individuals. III. To act well for the Commonwealth
is noble, and even to speak well for it is not without merit[28]. Both
in peace and in war it is possible to obtain celebrity; many who have
acted, and many who have recorded the actions of others, receive their
tribute of praise. And to me, assuredly, though by no means equal
glory attends the narrator and the performer of illustrious deeds, it
yet seems in the highest degree difficult to write the history of
great transactions; first, because deeds must be adequately
represented[29] by words; and next, because most readers consider that
whatever errors you mention with censure, are mentioned through
malevolence and envy; while, when you speak of the great virtue and
glory of eminent men, every one hears with acquiescence[30] only that
which he himself thinks easy to be performed; all beyond his own
conception he regards as fictitious and incredible[31].

I myself, however, when a young man[32], was at first led by
inclination, like most others, to engage in political affairs[33]; but
in that pursuit many circumstances were unfavorable to me; for,
instead of modesty, temperance, and integrity[34], there prevailed
shamelessness, corruption, and rapacity. And although my mind,
inexperienced in dishonest practices, detested these vices, yet, in
the midst of so great corruption, my tender age was insnared and
infected[35] by ambition; and, though I shrunk from the vicious
principles of those around me, yet the same eagerness for honors, the
same obloquy and jealousy[36], which disquieted others, disquieted

IV. When, therefore, my mind had rest from its numerous troubles and
trials, and I had determined to pass the remainder of my days
unconnected with public life, it was not my intention to waste my
valuable leisure in indolence and inactivity, or, engaging in servile
occupations, to spend my time in agriculture or hunting[37]; but,
returning to those studies[38] from which, at their commencement, a
corrupt ambition had allured me, I determined to write, in detached
portions[39], the transactions of the Roman people, as any occurrence
should seem worthy of mention; an undertaking to which I was the
rather inclined, as my mind was uninfluenced by hope, fear, or
political partisanship. I shall accordingly give a brief account, with
as much truth as I can, of the Conspiracy of Catiline; for I think it
an enterprise eminently deserving of record, from the unusual nature
both of its guilt and of its perils. But before I enter upon my
narrative, I must give a short description of the character of the

V. Lucius Catiline was a man of noble birth[40], and of eminent mental
and personal endowments; but of a vicious and depraved disposition.
His delight, from his youth, had been civil commotions, bloodshed,
robbery, and sedition[41]; and in such scenes he had spent his early
years.[42] His constitution could endure hunger, want of sleep, and
cold, to a degree surpassing belief. His mind was daring, subtle, and
versatile, capable of pretending or dissembling whatever he wished.[43]
He was covetous of other men's property, and prodigal of his own. He
had abundance of eloquence,[44] though but little wisdom. His
insatiable ambition was always pursuing objects extravagant, romantic,
and unattainable.

Since the time of Sylla's dictatorship,[45] a strong desire of seizing
the government possessed him, nor did he at all care, provided that he
secured power[46] for himself, by what means he might arrive at it.
His violent spirit was daily more and more hurried on by the
diminution of his patrimony, and by his consciousness of guilt; both
which evils he had increased by those practices which I have mentioned
above. The corrupt morals of the state, too, which extravagance and
selfishness, pernicious and contending vices, rendered thoroughly
depraved,[47] furnished him with additional incentives to action.

Since the occasion has thus brought public morals under my notice, the
subject itself seems to call upon me to look back, and briefly to
describe the conduct of our ancestors[48] in peace and war; how they
managed the state, and how powerful they left it; and how, by gradual
alteration, it became, from being the most virtuous, the most vicious
and depraved.

VI. Of the city of Rome, as I understand,[49] the founders and
earliest inhabitants were the Trojans, who, under the conduct of
Aeneas, were wandering about as exiles from their country, without any
settled abode; and with these were joined the Aborigines,[50] a savage
race of men, without laws or government, free, and owning no control.
How easily these two tribes, though of different origin, dissimilar
language, and opposite habits of life, formed a union when they met
within the same walls, is almost incredible.[51] But when their state,
from an accession of population and territory, and an improved
condition of morals, showed itself tolerably flourishing and powerful,
envy, as is generally the case in human affairs, was the consequence
of its prosperity. The neighboring kings and people, accordingly,
began to assail them in war, while a few only of their friends came to
their support; for the rest, struck with alarm, shrunk from sharing
their dangers. But the Romans, active at home and in the field,
prepared with alacrity for their defense.[52] They encouraged one
another, and hurried to meet the enemy. They protected, with their
arms, their liberty, their country, and their homes. And when they had
at length repelled danger by valor, they lent assistance to their
allies and supporters, and procured friendships rather by
bestowing[53] favors than by receiving them.

They had a government regulated by laws. The denomination of their
government was monarchy. Chosen men, whose bodies might be enfeebled
by years, but whose minds were vigorous in understanding, formed the
council of the state; and these, whether from their age, or from the
similarity of their duty, were called FATHERS.[54] But afterward, when
the monarchical power, which had been originally established for the
protection of liberty, and for the promotion of the public interest,
had degenerated into tyranny and oppression, they changed their plan,
and appointed two magistrates,[55] with power only annual; for they
conceived that, by this method, the human mind would be least likely
to grow overbearing for want of control.

VII. At this period every citizen began to seek distinction, and to
display his talents with greater freedom; for, with princes, the
meritorious are greater objects of suspicion than the undeserving, and
to them the worth of others is a source of alarm. But when liberty was
secured, it is almost incredible[56] how much the state strengthened
itself in a short space of time, so strong a passion for distinction
had pervaded it. Now, for the first time, the youth, as soon as they
were able to bear the toil of war,[57] acquired military skill by
actual service in the camp, and took pleasure rather in splendid arms
and military steeds than in the society of mistresses and convivial
indulgence. To such men no toil was unusual, no place was difficult or
inaccessible, no armed enemy was formidable; their valor had overcome
every thing. But among themselves the grand rivalry was for glory;
each sought to be first to wound an enemy, to scale a wall, and to be
noticed while performing such an exploit. Distinction such as this
they regarded as wealth, honor, and true nobility.[58] They were
covetous of praise, but liberal of money; they desired competent
riches but boundless glory. I could mention, but that the account
would draw me too far from my subject, places in which the Roman
people, with a small body of men, routed vast armies of the enemy; and
cities, which, though fortified by nature, they carried by assault.

VIII. But, assuredly, Fortune rules in all things. She makes every
thing famous or obscure rather from caprice than in conformity with
truth. The exploits of the Athenians, as far as I can judge, were very
great and glorious,[59] something inferior to what fame has represented
them. But because writers of great talent flourished there, the actions
of the Athenians are celebrated over the world as the most splendid
achievements. Thus, the merit of those who have acted is estimated at
the highest point to which illustrious intellects could exalt it in
their writings.

But among the Romans there was never any such abundance of writers;[60]
for, with them, the most able men were the most actively employed. No
one exercised the mind independently of the body: every man of ability
chose to act rather than narrate,[61] and was more desirous that his
own merits should be celebrated by others, than that he himself should
record theirs.

IX. Good morals, accordingly, were cultivated in the city and in the
camp. There was the greatest possible concord, and the least possible
avarice. Justice and probity prevailed among the citizens, not more
from the influence of the laws than from natural inclination. They
displayed animosity, enmity, and resentment only against the enemy.
Citizens contended with citizens in nothing but honor. They were
magnificent in their religious services, frugal in their families,
and steady in their friendships.

By these two virtues, intrepidity in war, and equity in peace, they
maintained themselves and their state. Of their exercise of which
virtues, I consider these as the greatest proofs; that, in war,
punishment was oftener inflicted on those who attacked an enemy
contrary to orders, and who, when commanded to retreat, retired too
slowly from the contest, than on those who had dared to desert their
standards, or, when pressed by the enemy,[62] to abandon their posts;
and that, in peace, they governed more by conferring benefits than by
exciting terror, and, when they received an injury, chose rather to
pardon than to revenge it.

X. But when, by perseverance and integrity, the republic had increased
its power; when mighty princes had been vanquished in war;[63] when
barbarous tribes and populous states had been reduced to subjection;
when Carthage, the rival of Rome's dominion, had been utterly
destroyed, and sea and land lay every where open to her sway, Fortune
then began to exercise her tyranny, and to introduce universal
innovation. To those who had easily endured toils, dangers, and
doubtful and difficult circumstances, ease and wealth, the objects of
desire to others, became a burden and a trouble. At first the love of
money, and then that of power, began to prevail, and these became, as
it were, the sources of every evil. For avarice subverted honesty,
integrity, and other honorable principles, and, in their stead,
inculcated pride, inhumanity, contempt of religion, and general
venality. Ambition prompted many to become deceitful; to keep one
thing concealed in the breast, and another ready on the tongue;[64] to
estimate friendships and enmities, not by their worth, but according
to interest; and to carry rather a specious countenance than an honest
heart. These vices at first advanced but slowly, and were sometimes
restrained by correction; but afterward, when their infection had
spread like a pestilence, the state was entirely changed, and the
government, from being the most equitable and praiseworthy, became
rapacious and insupportable.

XI. At first, however, it was ambition, rather than avarice,[65] that
influenced the minds of men; a vice which approaches nearer to virtue
than the other. For of glory, honor, and power, the worthy is as
desirous as the worthless; but the one pursues them by just methods;
the other, being destitute of honorable qualities, works with fraud
and deceit. But avarice has merely money for its object, which no wise
man has ever immoderately desired. It is a vice which, as if imbued
with deadly poison, enervates whatever is manly in body or mind.[66]
It is always unbounded and insatiable, and is abated neither by
abundance nor by want.

But after Lucius Sylla, having recovered the government[67] by force
of arms, proceeded, after a fair commencement, to a pernicious
termination, all became robbers and plunderers;[68] some set their
affections on houses, others on lands; his victorious troops knew
neither restraint nor moderation, but inflicted on the citizens
disgraceful and inhuman outrages. Their rapacity was increased by the
circumstance that Sylla, in order to secure the attachment of the
forces which he had commanded in Asia,[69] had treated them, contrary
to the practice of our ancestors, with extraordinary indulgence, and
exemption from discipline; and pleasant and luxurious quarters had
easily, during seasons of idleness, enervated the minds of the
soldiery. Then the armies of the Roman people first became habituated
to licentiousness and intemperance, and began to admire statues,
pictures, and sculptured vases; to seize such objects alike in public
edifices and private dwellings;[70] to spoil temples; and to cast off
respect for every thing, sacred and profane. Such troops, accordingly,
when once they obtained the mastery, left nothing to be vanquished.
Success unsettles the principles even of the wise, and scarcely would
those of debauched habits use victory with moderation.

XII. When wealth was once considered an honor, and glory, authority,
and power attended on it, virtue lost her influence, poverty was
thought a disgrace, and a life of innocence was regarded as a life of
ill-nature.[71] From the influence of riches, accordingly, luxury,
avarice, and pride prevailed among the youth; they grew at once
rapacious and prodigal; they undervalued what was their own, and
coveted what was another's; they set at naught modesty and continence;
they lost all distinction between sacred and profane, and threw off
all consideration and self-restraint.

It furnishes much matter for reflection,[72] after viewing our modern
mansions and villas extended to the size of cities, to contemplate the
temples which our ancestors, a most devout race of men, erected to the
gods. But our forefathers adorned the fanes of the deities with devotion,
and their homes with their own glory, and took nothing from those whom
they conquered but the power of doing harm; their descendants, on the
contrary, the basest of mankind,[73] have even wrested from their allies,
with the most flagrant injustice, whatever their brave and victorious
ancestors had left to their vanquished enemies; as if the only use of
power were to inflict injury.

XIII. For why should I mention those displays of extravagance, which
can be believed by none but those who have seen them; as that mountains
have been leveled, and seas covered with edifices,[74] by many private
citizens; men whom I consider to have made a sport of their wealth,[75]
since they were impatient to squander disreputably what they might have
enjoyed with honor.

But the love of irregular gratification, open debauchery, and all
kinds of luxury,[76] had spread abroad with no less force. Men forgot
their sex; women threw off all the restraints of modesty. To gratify
appetite, they sought for every kind of production by land and by sea;
they slept before there was any inclination for sleep; they no longer
waited to feel hunger, thirst, cold,[77] or fatigue, but anticipated
them all by luxurious indulgence. Such propensities drove the youth,
when their patrimonies were exhausted, to criminal practices; for
their minds, impregnated with evil habits, could not easily abstain
from gratifying their passions, and were thus the more inordinately
devoted in every way to rapacity and extravagance.

XIV. In so populous and so corrupt a city, Catiline, as it was very
easy to do, kept about him, like a body-guard, crowds of the
unprincipled and desperate. For all those shameless, libertine, and
profligate characters, who had dissipated their patrimonies by
gaming,[78] luxury, and sensuality; all who had contracted heavy
debts, to purchase immunity for their crimes or offenses; all
assassins[79] or sacrilegious persons from every quarter, convicted or
dreading conviction for their evil deeds; all, besides, whom their
tongue or their hand maintained by perjury or civil bloodshed; all, in
fine, whom wickedness, poverty, or a guilty conscience disquieted,
were the associates and intimate friends of Catiline. And if any one,
as yet of unblemished character, fell into his society, he was
presently rendered, by daily intercourse and temptation, similar and
equal to the rest. But it was the young whose acquaintance he chiefly
courted; as their minds, ductile and unsettled from their age, were
easily insnared by his stratagems. For as the passions of each,
according to his years, appeared excited, he furnished mistresses to
some, bought horses and dogs for others, and spared, in a word,
neither his purse nor his character, if he could but make them his
devoted and trustworthy supporters. There were some, I know, who
thought that the youth, who frequented the house of Catiline, were
guilty of crimes against nature; but this report arose rather from
other causes than from any evidence of the fact[80].

XV. Catiline, in his youth, had been guilty of many criminal
connections, with a virgin of noble birth[81], with a priestess of
Vesta[82], and of many other offenses of this nature, in defiance
alike of law and religion. At last, when he was smitten with a passion
for Aurelia Orestilla[83], in whom no good man, at any time of her
life, commended any thing but her beauty, it is confidently believed
that because she hesitated to marry him, from the dread of having a
grown-up step-son[84], he cleared the house for their nuptials by
putting his son to death. And this crime appears to me to have been
the chief cause of hurrying forward the conspiracy. For his guilty
mind, at peace with neither gods nor men, found no comfort either
waking or sleeping; so effectually did conscience desolate his
tortured spirit.[85] His complexion, in consequence, was pale, his
eyes haggard, his walk sometimes quick and sometimes slow, and
distraction was plainly apparent in every feature and look.

XVI. The young men, whom, as I said before, he had enticed to join
him, he initiated, by various methods, in evil practices. From among
them he furnished false witnesses,[86] and forgers of signatures; and
he taught them all to regard, with equal unconcern, honor, property,
and danger. At length, when he had stripped them of all character and
shame, he led them to other and greater enormities. If a motive for
crime did not readily occur, he incited them, nevertheless, to
circumvent and murder inoffensive persons[87] just as if they had
injured him; for, lest their hand or heart should grow torpid for want
of employment, he chose to be gratuitously wicked and cruel.

Depending on such accomplices and adherents, and knowing that the load
of debt was every where great, and that the veterans of Sylla,[88]
having spent their money too liberally, and remembering their spoils
and former victory, were longing for a civil war, Catiline formed the
design of overthrowing the government. There was no army in Italy;
Pompey was fighting in a distant part of the world;[89] he himself had
great hopes of obtaining the consulship; the senate was wholly off its
guard;[90] every thing was quiet and tranquil; and all those
circumstances were exceedingly favorable for Catiline.

XVII. Accordingly, about the beginning of June, in the consulship of
Lucius Caesar[91] and Caius Figulus, he at first addressed each of his
accomplices separately, encouraged some, and sounded others, and
informed them, of his own resources, of the unprepared condition of
the state, and of the great prizes to be expected from the conspiracy.
When he had ascertained, to his satisfaction, all that he required, he
summoned all whose necessities were the most urgent, and whose spirits
were the most daring, to a general conference.

At that meeting there were present, of senatorial rank, Publius
Lentulus Sura,[92] Publius Autronius,[93] Lucius Cassius Longinus,[94]
Caius Cethegus,[95] Publius and Servius Sylla[96] the sons of
Servius Sylla, Lucius Vargunteius,[97] Quintus Annius,[98] Marcus
Porcius Laeca,[99] Lucius Bestia,[100] Quintus Curius;[101] and, of
the equestrian order, Marcus Fulvius Nobilior,[102] Lucius
Statilius,[103] Publius Gabinius Capito,[104] Caius Cornelius;[105]
with many from the colonies and municipal towns,[106] persons of
consequence in their own localities. There were many others, too,
among the nobility, concerned in the plot, but less openly: men whom
the hope of power, rather than poverty or any other exigence, prompted
to join in the affair. But most of the young men, and especially the
sons of the nobility, favored the schemes of Catiline; they who had
abundant means of living at ease, either splendidly or voluptuously,
preferred uncertainties to certainties, war to peace. There were some,
also, at that time, who believed that Marcus Licinius Crassus[107] was
not unacquainted with the conspiracy; because Cneius Pompey, whom he
hated, was at the head of a large army, and he was willing that the
power of any one whomsoever should raise itself against Pompey's
influence; trusting, at the same time, that if the plot should
succeed, he would easily place himself at the head of the

XVIII. But previously[108] to this period, a small number of persons,
among whom was Catiline, had formed a design against the state: of
which affair I shall here give as accurate account as I am able. Under
the consulship of Lucius Tullus and Marcus Lepidus, Publius Autronius
and Publius Sylla,[109] having been tried for bribery under the laws
against it,[110] had paid the penalty of the offense. Shortly after
Catiline, being brought to trial for extortion,[111] had been
prevented from standing for the consulship, because he had been unable
to declare himself a candidate within the legitimate number of
days.[112] There was at that time, too, a young patrician of the most
daring spirit, needy and discontented, named Cneius Piso,[113] whom
poverty and vicious principles instigated to disturb the government.
Catiline and Autronius,[114] having concerted measures with this Piso,
prepared to assassinate the consuls, Lucius Cotta and Lucius Torquatus,
in the Capitol, on the first of January,[115] when they, having seized
on the fasces, were to send Piso with an army to take possession of the
two Spains.[116] But their design being discovered, they postponed the
assassination to the fifth of February; when they meditated the
destruction, not of the consuls only, but of most of the senate. And had
not Catiline, who was in front of the senate-house, been too hasty to
give the singal to his associates, there would that day have been
perpetrated the most atrocious outrage since the city of Rome was
founded. But as the armed conspirators had not yet assembled in
sufficient numbers, the want of force frustrated the design.

XIX. Some time afterward, Piso was sent as quaestor, with Praetorian
authority, into Hither Spain; Crassus promoting the appointment,
because he knew him to be a bitter enemy to Cneius Pompey. Nor were
the senate, indeed, unwilling[117] to grant him the province; for they
wished so infamous a character to be removed from the seat of
government; and many worthy men, at the same time, thought that there
was some security in him against the power of Pompey, which was then
becoming formidable. But this Piso, on his march toward his province,
was murdered by some Spanish cavalry whom he had in his army. These
barbarians, as some say, had been unable to endure his unjust,
haughty, and cruel orders; but others assert that this body of
cavalry, being old and trusty adherents of Pompey, attacked Piso at
his instigation; since the Spaniards, they observed, had never before
committed such an outrage, but had patiently submitted to many severe
commands. This question we shall leave undecided. Of the first
conspiracy enough has been said.

XX. When Catiline saw those, whom I have just above mentioned,[118]
assembled, though he had often discussed many points with them singly,
yet thinking it would be to his purpose to address and exhort them in
a body, retired with them into a private apartment of his house,
where, when all witnesses were withdrawn, he harangued them to the
following effect:

"If your courage and fidelity had not been sufficiently proved by me,
this favorable opportunity[119] would have occurred to no purpose;
mighty hopes, absolute power, would in vain be within our grasp; nor
should I, depending on irresolution or ficklemindedness, pursue
contingencies instead of certainties. But as I have, on many remarkable
occasions, experienced your bravery and attachment to me, I have
ventured to engage in a most important and glorious enterprise. I am
aware, too, that whatever advantages or evils affect you, the same
affect me; and to have the same desires and the same aversions, is
assuredly a firm bond of friendship.

"What I have been meditating you have already heard separately. But my
ardor for action is daily more and more excited, when I consider what
our future condition of life must be, unless we ourselves assert our
claims to liberty.[120] For since the government has fallen under the
power and jurisdiction of a few, kings and princes[121] have constantly
been their tributaries; nations and states have paid them taxes; but all
the rest of us, however brave and worthy, whether noble or plebeian,
have been regarded as a mere mob, without interest or authority, and
subject to those, to whom, if the state were in a sound condition, we
should be a terror. Hence, all influence, power, honor, and wealth, are
in their hands, or where they dispose of them: to us they have left only
insults,[122] dangers, persecutions, and poverty. To such indignities,
O bravest of men, how long will you submit? Is it not better to die in
a glorious attempt, than, after having been the sport of other men's
insolence, to resign a wretched and degraded existence with ignominy?

"But success (I call gods and men to witness!) is in our own hands.
Our years are fresh, our spirit is unbroken; among our oppressors, on
the contrary, through age and wealth a general debility has been
produced. We have therefore only to make a beginning; the course of
events[123] will accomplish the rest.

"Who in the world, indeed, that has the feelings of a man, can endure
that they should have a superfluity of riches, to squander in building
over seas[124] and leveling mountains, and that means should be wanting
to us even for the necessaries of life; that they should join together
two houses or more, and that we should not have a hearth to call our
own? They, though they purchase pictures, statues, and embossed plate;
[125] though they pull down now buildings and erect others, and lavish
and abuse their wealth in every possible method; yet can not, with the
utmost efforts of caprice, exhaust it. But for us there is poverty at
home, debts abroad; our present circumstances are bad, our prospects
much worse; and what, in a word, have we left, but a miserable existence?

"Will you not, then, awake to action? Behold that liberty, that
liberty for which you have so often wished, with wealth, honor, and
glory, are set before your eyes. All these prizes fortune offers to
the victorious. Let the enterprise itself, then, let the opportunity,
let your poverty, your dangers, and the glorious spoils of war,
animate you far more than my words. Use me either as your leader or
your fellow-soldier; neither my heart nor my hand shall be wanting to
you. These objects I hope to effect, in concert with you, in the
character of consul; unless, indeed, my expectation deceives me, and
you prefer to be slaves rather than masters."

XXI. When these men, surrounded with numberless evils, but without any
resources or hopes of good, had heard this address, though they
thought it much for their advantage to disturb the public tranquillity,
yet most of them called on Catiline to state on what terms they were to
engage in the contest; what benefits they were to expect from taking up
arms; and what support and encouragement they had, and in what quarters.
[126] Catiline then promised them the abolition of their debts;[127] a
proscription of the wealthy citizens;[128] offices, sacerdotal dignities,
plunder, and all other gratifications which war, and the license of
conquerors, can afford. He added that Piso was in Hither Spain, and
Publius Sittius Nucerinus with an army in Mauritania, both of whom were
privy to his plans; that Caius Antonius, whom he hoped to have for a
colleague, was canvassing for the consulship, a man with whom he was
intimate, and who was involved in all manner of embarrassments; and that,
in conjunction with him, he himself, when consul, would commence
operations. He, moreover, assailed all the respectable citizens with
reproaches, commended each of his associates by name, reminded one of
his poverty, another of his ruling passion,[129] several others of their
danger or disgrace, and many of the spoils which they had obtained by
the victory of Sylla. When he saw their spirits sufficiently elevated,
he charged them to attend to his interest at the election of consuls,
and dismissed the assembly.

XXII. There were some, at the time, who said that Catiline, having
ended his speech, and wishing to bind his accomplices in guilt by an
oath, handed round among them, in goblets, the blood of a human body
mixed with wine; and that when all, after an imprecation, had tasted
of it, as is usual in sacred rites, he disclosed his design; and they
asserted[130] that he did this, in order that they might be the more
closely attached to one another, by being mutually conscious of such
an atrocity. But some thought that this report, and many others, were
invented by persons who supposed that the odium against Cicero, which
afterward arose, might be lessened by imputing an enormity of guilt to
the conspirators who had suffered death. The evidence which I have
obtained, in support of this charge, is not at all in proportion to
its magnitude.

XXIII. Among those present at this meeting was Quintus Curius,[131] a
man of no mean family, but immersed in vices and crimes, and whom the
censors had ignonimiously expelled from the senate. In this person
there was not less levity than impudence; he could neither keep secret
what he heard, not conceal his own crimes; he was altogether heedless
what he said or what he did. He had long had a criminal intercourse
with Fulvia, a woman of high birth; but growing less acceptable to her,
because, in his reduced circumstances, he had less means of being
liberal, he began, on a sudden, to boast, and to promise her seas and
mountains;[132] threatening her, at times, with the sword, if she were
not submissive to his will; and acting, in his general conduct, with
greater arrogance than ever.[133] Fulvia, having learned the cause of
his extravagant behavior, did not keep such danger to the state a
secret; but, without naming her informant, communicated to several
persons what she had heard and under what circumstances, concerning
Catiline's conspiracy. This intelligence it was that incited the
feelings of the citizens to give the consulship to Marcus Tullius
Cicero.[134] For before this period, most of the nobility were moved
with jealousy, and thought the consulship in some degree sullied, if a
man of no family,[135] however meritorious, obtained it. But when
danger showed itself, envy and pride were laid aside. XXIV.
Accordingly, when the comitia were held, Marcus Tullius and Caius
Antonius were declared consuls; an event which gave the first shock to
the conspirators. The ardor of Catiline, however, was not at all
diminished; he formed every day new schemes; he deposited arms, in
convenient places, throughout Italy; he sent sums of money borrowed on
his own credit, or that of his friends, to a certain Manlius,[136] at
Faesulae,[137] who was subsequently the first to engage in hostilities.
At this period, too, he is said to have attached to his cause great
numbers of men of all classes, and some women, who had, in their earlier
days, supported an expensive life by the price of their beauty, but who,
when age had lessened their gains but not their extravagance, had
contracted heavy debts. By the influence of these females, Catiline
hoped to gain over the slaves in Rome, to get the city set on fire, and
either to secure the support of their husbands or take away their lives.

XXV. In the number of those ladies was Sempronia,[138] a woman who had
committed many crimes with the spirit of a man. In birth and beauty,
in her husband and her children, she was extremely fortunate; she was
skilled in Greek and Roman literature; she could sing, play, and
dance,[139] with greater elegance than became a woman of virtue, and
possessed many other accomplishments that tend to excite the passions.
But nothing was ever less valued by her than honor or chastity.
Whether she was more prodigal of her money or her reputation, it would
have been difficult to decide. Her desires were so ardent that she
oftener made advances to the other sex than waited for solicitation.
She had frequently, before this period, forfeited her word, forsworn
debts, been privy to murder, and hurried into the utmost excesses by
her extravagance and poverty. But her abilities were by no means
despicable;[140] she could compose verses, jest, and join in
conversation either modest, tender, or licentious. In a word, she was
distinguished[141] by much refinement of wit, and much grace of

XXVI. Catiline, having made these arrangements, still canvassed for
the consulship for the following year; hoping that, if he should be
elected, he would easily manage Antonius according to his pleasure.
Nor did he, in the mean time remain inactive, but devised schemes, in
every possible way, against Cicero, who, however, did not want skill
or policy to guard, against them. For, at the very beginning of his
consulship, he had, by making many promises through Fulvia, prevailed
on Quintus Curius, whom I have already mentioned, to give him secret
information of Catiline's proceedings. He had also persuaded his
colleague, Antonius, by an arrangement respecting their provinces,[142]
to entertain no sentiment of disaffection toward the state; and he kept
around him, though without ostentation, a guard of his friends and

When the day of the comitia came, and neither Catiline's efforts for
the consulship, nor the plots which he had laid for the consuls in the
Campus Martius,[143] were attended with success, he determined to
proceed to war, and resort to the utmost extremities, since what he
had attempted secretly had ended in confusion and disgrace.[144]

XXVII. He accordingly dispatched Caius Manlius to Faesulae, and the
adjacent parts of Etruria; one Septimius, of Carinum,[145] into the
Picenian territory; Caius Julius into Apulia; and others to various
places, wherever he thought each would be most serviceable.[146] He
himself, in the mean time, was making many simultaneous efforts at
Rome; he laid plots for the consul; he arranged schemes for burning
the city; he occupied suitable posts with armed men; he went constantly
armed himself, and ordered his followers to do the same; he exhorted
them to be always on their guard and prepared for action; he was active
and vigilant by day and by night, and was exhausted neither by
sleeplessness nor by toil. At last, however, when none of his
numerous projects succeeded,[147] he again, with the aid of Marcus
Porcius Laeca, convoked the leaders of the conspiracy in the dead of
night, when, after many complaints of their apathy, he informed them
that he had sent forward Manlius to that body of men whom he had
prepared to take up arms; and others of the confederates into other
eligible places, to make a commencement of hostilities; and that he
himself was eager to set out to the army, if he could but first cut
off Cicero, who was the chief obstruction to his measures.

XXVIII. While, therefore, the rest were in alarm and hesitation, Caius
Cornelius, a Roman knight, who offered his services, and Lucius
Vargunteius, a senator, in company with him, agreed to go with an
armed force, on that very night, and with but little delay,[148] to
the house of Cicero, under pretense of paying their respects to him,
and to kill him unawares, and unprepared for defense, in his own
residence. But Curius, when he heard of the imminent danger that
threatened the consul, immediately gave him notice, by the agency of
Fulvia, of the treachery which was contemplated. The assassins, in
consequence, were refused admission, and found that they had
undertaken such an attempt only to be disappointed.

In the mean time, Manlius was in Etruria, stirring up the populace,
who, both from poverty, and from resentment for their injuries (for,
under the tyranny of Sylla, they had lost their lands and other
property) were eager for a revolution. He also attached to himself all
sorts of marauders, who were numerous in those parts, and some of
Sylla's colonists, whose dissipation and extravagance had exhausted
their enormous plunder.

XXIX. When these proceedings were reported to Cicero, he, being
alarmed at the twofold danger, since he could no longer secure the
city against treachery by his private efforts, nor could gain
satisfactory intelligence of the magnitude or intentions of the army
of Manlius, laid the matter, which was already a subject of discussion
among the people, before the senate. The senate, accordingly, as is
usual in any perilous emergency, decreed that THE CONSULS SHOULD MAKE
the greatest power which, according to the practice at Rome, is
granted[149] by the senate to the magistrate, and which authorizes him
to raise troops; to make war; to assume unlimited control over the
allies and the citizens; to take the chief command and jurisdiction at
home and in the field; rights which, without an order of the people,
the consul is not permitted to exercise.

XXX. A few days afterward, Lucius Saenius, a senator, read to the
senate a letter, which, he said, he had received from Faesulae, and in
which, it was stated that Caius Manlius, with a large force, had taken
the field by the 27th of October.[150] Others at the same time, as is
not uncommon in such a crisis, spread reports of omens and prodigies;
others of meetings being held, of arms being transported, and of
insurrections of the slaves at Capua and in Apulia. In consequence of
these rumors, Quintus Marcius Rex[151] was dispatched, by a decree of
the senate, to Faesulae, and Quintus Metellus Creticus[152] into
Apulia and the parts adjacent; both which officers, with the title of
commanders,[153] were waiting near the city, having been prevented
from entering in triumph, by the malice of a cabal, whose custom it
was to ask a price for every thing, whether honorable or infamous. The
praetors, too, Quintus Pompeius Rufus, and Quintus Metellus Celer, were
sent off, the one to Capua, the other to Picenum, and power was given
them to levy a force proportioned to the exigency and the danger. The
senate also decreed, that if any one should give information of the
conspiracy which had been formed against the state, his reward should
be, if a slave, his freedom and a hundred sestertia; if a freeman, a
complete pardon and two hundred sestertia[154]. They further appointed
that the schools of gladiators[155] should be distributed in Capua and
other municipal towns, according to the capacity of each; and that, at
Rome, watches should be posted throughout the city, of which the
inferior magistrates[156] should have the charge.

XXXI. By such proceedings as these the citizens were struck with
alarm, and the appearance of the city was changed. In place of that
extreme gayety and dissipation,[157] to which long tranquillity[158]
had given rise, a sudden gloom spread over all classes; they became
anxious and agitated; they felt secure neither in any place, nor with
any person; they were not at war, yet enjoyed no peace; each measured
the public danger by his own fear. The women, also, to whom, from the
extent of the empire, the dread of war was new, gave way to lamentation,
raised supplicating hands to heaven, mourned over their infants, made
constant inquiries, trembled at every thing, and, forgetting their pride
and their pleasures, felt nothing but alarm for themselves and their

Yet the unrelenting spirit of Catiline persisted in the same purposes,
notwithstanding the precautions that were adopted against him, and
though he himself was accused by Lucius Paullus under the Plautian
law.[159] At last, with a view to dissemble, and under pretense of
clearing his character, as if he had been provoked by some attack, he
went into the senate-house. It was then that Marcus Tullius, the
consul, whether alarmed at his presence, or fired with indignation
against him, delivered that splendid speech, so beneficial to the
republic, which he afterward wrote and published.[160]

When Cicero sat down, Catiline, being prepared to pretend ignorance of
the whole matter, entreated, with downcast looks and suppliant voice,
that "the Conscript Fathers would not too hastily believe any thing
against him;" saying "that he was sprung from such a family, and had
so ordered his life from his youth, as to have every happiness in
prospect; and that they were not to suppose that he, a patrician,
whose services to the Roman people, as well as those of his ancestors,
had been so numerous, should want to ruin the state, when Marcus
Tullius, a mere adopted citizen of Rome,[161] was eager to preserve
it." When he was proceeding to add other invectives, they all raised
an outcry against him, and called him an enemy and a traitor.[162]
Being thus exasperated, "Since I am encompassed by enemies," he
exclaimed,[163] "and driven to desperation, I will extinguish the
flame kindled around me in a general ruin."

XXXII He then hurried from the senate to his own house; and then,
after much reflection with himself, thinking that, as his plots
against the consul had been unsuccessful, and as he knew the city to
be secured from fire by the watch, his best course would be to augment
his army, and make provision for the war before the legions could be
raised, he set out in the dead of night, and with a few attendants, to
the camp of Manlius. But he left in charge to Lentulus and Cethegus,
and others of whose prompt determination he was assured, to strengthen
the interests of their party in every possible way, to forward the
plots against the consul, and to make arrangements for a massacre, for
firing the city, and for other destructive operations of war;
promising that he himself would shortly advance on the city with a
large army.

During the course of these proceedings at Rome, Caius Manlius
dispatched some of his followers as deputies to Quintus Marcius Rex,
with directions to address him[164] to the following effect:

XXXIII. "We call gods and men to witness, general, that we have taken
up arms neither to injure our country, nor to occasion peril to any
one, but to defend our own persons from harm; who, wretched and in
want, have been deprived most of us, of our homes, and all of us of
our character and property, by the oppression and cruelty of usurers;
nor has any one of us been allowed, according to the usage of our
ancestors, to have the benefit of the law,[165] or, when our property
was lost to keep our persons free. Such has been the inhumanity of the
usurers and of the praetor.[166]

Often have your forefathers, taking compassion on the commonalty at
Rome, relieved their distress by decrees;[167] and very lately, within
our own memory, silver, by reason of the pressure of debt, and with
the consent of all respectable citizens, was paid with brass.[168]

Often too, we must own, have the commonalty themselves, driven by
desire of power, or by the arrogance of their rulers, seceded[169]
under arms from the patricians. But at power or wealth, for the sake
of which wars, and all kinds of strife, arise among mankind, we do not
aim; we desire only our liberty, which no honorable man relinquishes
but with life. We therefore conjure you and the senate to befriend
your unhappy fellow-citizens; to restore us the protection of the law,
which the injustice of the praetor has taken from us; and not to lay
on us the necessity of considering how we may perish, so as best to
avenge our blood."

XXXIV. To this address Quintus Marcius replied, that, "if they wished
to make any petition to the senate, they must lay down their arms, and
proceed as suppliants to Rome;" adding, that "such had always been the
kindness[170] and humanity of the Roman senate and people, that none
had ever asked help of them in vain."

Catiline, on his march, sent letters to most men of consular dignity,
and to all the most respectable citizens, stating that "as he was
beset by false accusations, and unable to resist the combination of
his enemies, he was submitting to the will of fortune, and going into
exile at Marseilles; not that he was guilty of the great wickedness
laid to his charge, but that the state might be undisturbed, and that
no insurrection might arise from his defense of himself."

Quintus Catulus, however, read in the senate a letter of a very
different character, which, he said, was delivered to him in he name
of Catiline, and of which the following is a copy.

[171]XXXV. "Lucius Catiline to Quintus Catulus, wishing health. Your
eminent integrity, known to me by experience,[172] gives a pleasing
confidence, in the midst of great perils, to my present recommendation.
[173] I have determined, therefore, to make no formal defense[174] with
regard to my new course of conduct; yet I was resolved, though conscious
of no guilt,[175] to offer you some explanation,[176] which, on my word
of honor,[177] you may receive as true.[178] Provoked by injuries and
indignities, since, being robbed of the fruit of my labor and exertion,
[179] I did not obtain the post of honor due to me,[180] I have
undertaken, according to my custom, the public cause of the distressed.
Not but that I could have paid, out of my own property, the debts
contracted on my own security;[181] while the generosity of Orestilla,
out of her own fortune and her daughter's, would discharge those
incurred on the security of others. But because I saw unworthy men
ennobled with honors, and myself proscribed[182] on groundless suspicion,
I have for this very reason, adopted a course,[183] amply justifiable
in my present circumstances, for preserving what honor is left to me.
When I was proceeding to write more, intelligence was brought that
violence is preparing against me. I now commend and intrust Orestilla
to your protection;[184] intreating you, by your love for your own
children, to defend her from injury.[185] Farewell."

XXXVI. Catiline himself, having stayed a few days with Caius Flaminius
Flamma in the neighborhood of Arretium,[186] while he was supplying
the adjacent parts, already excited to insurrection, with arms,
marched with his fasces, and other ensigns of authority, to join
Manlius in his camp.

When this was known at Rome, the senate declared Catiline and Manlius
enemies to the state, and fixed a day as to the rest of their force,
before which they might lay down their arms with impunity, except such
as had been convicted of capital offenses. They also decreed that the
consuls should hold a levy; that Antonius, with an army, should hasten
in pursuit of Catiline; and that Cicero should protect the city.

At this period the empire of Rome appears to me to have been in an
extremely deplorable condition;[187] for though every nation, from the
rising to the setting of the sun, lay in subjection to her arms, and
though peace and prosperity, which mankind think the greatest
blessings, were hers in abundance, there yet were found, among her
citizens, men who were bent with obstinate determination, to plunge
themselves and their country into ruin; for, notwithstanding the two
decrees of the senate,[188] not one individual, out of so vast a
number, was induced by the offer of reward to give information of the
conspiracy; nor was there a single deserter from the camp of Catiline.
So strong a spirit of disaffection had, like a pestilence, pervaded
the minds of most of the citizens.

XXXVII. Nor was this disaffected spirit confined to those who were
actually concerned in the conspiracy; for the whole of the common
people, from a desire of change, favored the projects of Catiline.
This they seemed to do in accordance with their general character;
for, in every state, they that are poor envy those of a better class,
and endeavor to exalt the factious;[189] they dislike the established
condition of things, and long for something new; they are discontented
with their own circumstances, and desire a general alteration; they
can support themselves amid tumult and sedition, without anxiety,
since poverty does not easily suffer loss.[190]

As for the populace of the city, they had become disaffected[191] from
various causes. In the first place,[192] such as every where took the
lead in crime and profligacy, with others who had squandered their
fortunes in dissipation, and, in a word, all whom vice and villainy
had driven from their homes, had flocked to Rome as a general
receptacle of impurity. In the next place, many, who thought of the
success of Sylla, when they had seen some raised from common soldiers
into senators, and others so enriched as to live in regal luxury and
pomp, hoped, each for himself, similar results from victory, if they
should once take up arms. In addition to this, the youth, who, in the
country, had earned a scanty livelihood by manual labor, tempted by
public and private largesses, had preferred idleness in the city to
unwelcome toil in the field. To these, and all others of similar
character, public disorders would furnish subsistence. It is not at
all surprising, therefore, that men in distress, of dissolute
principles and extravagant expectations, should have consulted the
interest of the state no further than as it was subservient to their
own. Besides, those whose parents, by the victory of Sylla, had been
proscribed, whose property had been confiscated, and whose civil
rights had been curtailed,[193] looked forward to the event of a war
with precisely the same feelings.

All those, too, who were of any party opposed to that of the senate,
were desirous rather that the state should be embroiled, than that
they themselves should be out of power. This was an evil, which, after
many years, had returned upon the community to the extent to which it
now prevailed.[194]

XXXVIII. For after the powers of the tribunes, in the consulate of
Cneius Pompey and Marcus Crassus, had been fully restored,[195]
certain young men, of an ardent age and temper, having obtained that
high office,[196] began to stir up the populace by inveighing against
the senate, and proceeded, in course of time, by means of largesses
and promises, to inflame them more and more; by which methods they
became popular and powerful. On the other hand, the most of the
nobility opposed their proceedings to the utmost; under pretense,
indeed, of supporting the senate, but in reality for their own
aggrandizement. For, to state the truth in few words, whatever
parties, during that period, disturbed the republic under plausible
pretexts, some, as if to defend the rights of the people, others, to
make the authority of the senate as great as possible, all, though
affecting concern for the public good, contended every one for his own
interest. In such contests there was neither moderation nor limit;
each party made a merciless use of its successes.

XXXIX. After Pompey, however, was sent to the maritime and Mithridatic
wars, the power of the people was diminished, and the influence of the
few increased. These few kept all public offices, the administration
of the provinces, and every thing else, in their own hands; they
themselves lived free from harm,[197] in flourishing circumstances,
and without apprehension; overawing others, at the same time, with
threats of impeachment,[198] so that when in office, they might be
less inclined to inflame the people. But as soon as a prospect of
change, in this dubious state of affairs, had presented itself, the
old spirit of contention awakened their passions; and had Catiline, in
his first battle, come off victorious, or left the struggle undecided,
great distress and calamity must certainly have fallen upon the state,
nor would those, who might at last have gained the ascendency, have
been allowed to enjoy it long, for some superior power would have
wrested dominion and liberty from them when weary and exhausted.

There were some, however, unconnected with the conspiracy, who set out
to join Catiline at an early period of his proceedings. Among these
was Aulus Fulvius, the son of a senator, whom, being arrested on his
journey, his father ordered to be put to death.[199] In Rome, at the
same time, Lentulus, in pursuance of Catiline's directions, was
endeavoring to gain over, by his own agency or that of others, all
whom he thought adapted, either by principles or circumstances, to
promote an insurrection; and not citizens only, but every description
of men who could be of any service in war.

XL. He accordingly commissioned one Publius Umbrenus to apply to
certain deputies of the Allobroges,[200] and to lead them, if he
could, to a participation in the war; supposing that as they were
nationally and individually involved in debt, and as the Gauls were
naturally warlike, they might easily be drawn into such an enterprise.
Umbrenus, as he had traded in Gaul, was known to most of the chief men
there, and personally acquainted with them; and consequently, without
loss of time, as soon as he noticed the deputies in the Forum, he
asked them, after making a few inquiries about the state of their
country, and affecting to commiserate its fallen condition, "what
termination they expected to such calamities?" When he found that they
complained of the rapacity of the magistrates, inveighed against the
senate for not affording them relief, and looked to death as the only
remedy for their sufferings, "Yet I," said he, "if you will but act as
men, will show you a method by which you may escape these pressing
difficulties." When he had said this, the Allobroges, animated with
the highest hopes, besought Umbrenus to take compassion on them;
saying that there was nothing so disagreeable or difficult, which they
would not most gladly perform, if it would but free their country from
debt. He then conducted them to the house of Decimus Brutus, which was
close to the Forum, and, on account of Sempronia, not unsuitable to
his purpose, as Brutus was then absent from Rome.[201] In order, too,
to give greater weight to his representations, he sent for Gabinius,
and, in his presence, explained the objects of the conspiracy, and
mentioned the names of the confederates, as well as those of many
other persons, of every sort, who were guiltless of it, for the
purpose of inspiring the embassadors with greater confidence. At
length, when they had promised their assistance, he let them depart.

XLI. Yet the Allobroges were long in suspense what course they should
adopt. On the one hand, there was debt, an inclination for war, and
great advantages to be expected from victory;[202] on the other,
superior resources, safe plans, and certain rewards[203] instead of
uncertain expectations. As they were balancing these considerations,
the good fortune of the state at length prevailed. They accordingly
disclosed the whole affair, just as they had learned it, to Quintus
Fabius Sanga,[204] to whose patronage their state was very greatly
indebted. Cicero, being apprized of the matter by Sanga, directed the
deputies to pretend a strong desire for the success of the plot, to
seek interviews with the rest of the conspirators, to make them fair
promises, and to endeavor to lay them open to conviction as much as

XLII. Much about the same time there were commotions[205] in Hither
and Further Gaul, in the Picenian and Bruttian territories, and in
Apulia. For those, whom Catiline had previously sent to those parts,
had begun, without consideration, and seemingly with madness, to
attempt every thing at once; and, by nocturnal meetings, by removing
armor and weapons from place to place, and by hurrying and confusing
every thing, had created more alarm than danger. Of these, Quintus
Metellus Celer, the praetor, having brought several to trial,[206]
under the decree of the senate, had thrown them into prison, as had
also Caius Muraena in Further Gaul,[207] who governed that province in
quality of legate.

XLIII. But at Rome, in the mean time, Lentulus, with the other leaders
of the conspiracy, having secured what they thought a large force, had
arranged, that as soon as Catiline should reach the neighborhood of
Faesulae, Lucius Bestia, a tribune of the people, having called an
assembly, should complain of the proceedings of Cicero, and lay the
odium of this most oppressive war on the excellent consul;[208] and
that the rest of the conspirators, taking this as a signal, should, on
the following night, proceed to execute their respective parts.

These parts are said to have been thus distributed. Statilius and
Gabinius, with a large force, were to set on fire twelve places of the
city, convenient for their purpose,[209] at the same time; in order
that, during the consequent tumult,[210] an easier access might be
obtained to the consul, and to the others whose destruction was
intended; Cethegus was to beset the gate of Cicero, and attack him
personally with violence; others were to single out other victims;
while the sons of certain families, mostly of the nobility, were to
kill their fathers; and, when all were in consternation at the
massacre and conflagration, they were to sally forth to join Catiline.

While they were thus forming and settling their plans, Cethegus was
incessantly complaining of the want of spirit in his associates;
observing, that they wasted excellent opportunities through hesitation
and delay;[211] that, in such an enterprise, there was need, not of
deliberation, but of action; and that he himself, if a few would
support him, would storm the senate-house while the others remained
inactive. Being naturally bold, sanguine, and prompt to act, he
thought that success depended on rapidity of execution.

XLIV. The Allobroges, according to the directions of Cicero, procured
interviews, by means of Gabinius, with the other conspirators; and
from Lentulus, Cethegus, Statilius, and Cassius, they demanded an
oath, which they might carry under seal to their countrymen, who
otherwise would hardly join in so important an affair. To this the
others consented without suspicion; but Cassius promised them soon to
visit their country,[212] and, indeed, left the city a little before
the deputies.

In order that the Allobroges, before they reached home, might confirm
their agreement with Catiline, by giving and receiving pledges of
faith, Lentulus sent with them one Titus Volturcius, a native of
Crotona, he himself giving Volturcius a letter for Catiline, of which
the following is a copy:

"Who I am, you will learn from the person whom I have sent to you.
Reflect seriously in how desperate a situation you are placed, and
remember that you are a man.[213] Consider what your views demand, and
seek aid from all, even the lowest." In addition, he gave him this
verbal message: "Since he was declared an enemy by the senate, for
what reason should he reject the assistance of slaves? That, in the
city, every thing which he had directed was arranged; and that he
should not delay to make nearer approaches to it."

XLV. Matters having proceeded thus far, and a night being appointed
for the departure of the deputies, Cicero, being by them made
acquainted with every thing, directed the praetors,[214] Lucius
Valerius Flaccus, and Caius Pomtinus, to arrest the retinue of the
Allobroges, by laying in wait for them on the Milvian Bridge;[215] he
gave them a full explanation of the object with which they were
sent,[216] and left them to manage the rest as occasion might require.
Being military men, they placed a force, as had been directed, without
disturbance, and secretly invested the bridge; when the deputies, with
Volturcius, came to the place, and a shout was raised from each side
of the bridge,[217] the Gauls, at once comprehending the matter,
surrendered themselves immediately to the praetors. Volturcius, at
first, encouraging his companions, defended himself against numbers
with his sword; but afterward, being unsupported by the Allobroges, he
began earnestly to beg Pomtinus, to whom he was known, to save his
life, and at last, terrified and despairing of safety, he surrendered
himself to the praetors as unconditionally as to foreign enemies.

XLVI. The affair being thus concluded, a full account of it was
immediately transmitted to the consul by messengers. Great anxiety,
and great joy, affected him at the same moment. He rejoiced that, by
the discovery of the conspiracy, the state was freed from danger; but
he was doubtful how he ought to act, when citizens of such eminence
were detected in treason so atrocious. He saw that their punishment
would be a weight upon himself, and their escape the destruction of
the Commonwealth. Having, however, formed his resolution, he ordered
Lentulus, Cethegus, Statilius, Gabinius, and one Quintus Coeparius of
Terracina, who was preparing to go to Apulia to raise the slaves, to
be summoned before him. The others came without delay; but Coeparius,
having left his house a little before, and heard of the discovery of
the conspiracy, had fled from the city. The consul himself conducted
Lentulus, as he was praetor, holding him by the hand, and ordered the
others to be brought into the Temple of Concord, under a guard. Here
he assembled the senate, and in a very full attendance of that body,
introduced Volturcius with the deputies. Hither also he ordered
Valerius Flaccus, the praetor, to bring the box with the letters[218]
which he had taken from the deputies.

XLVII. Volturcius, being questioned concerning his journey, concerning
his letter,[219] and lastly, what object he had had in view,[220] and
from what motives he had acted, at first began to prevaricate,[221]
and to pretend ignorance of the conspiracy; but at length, when he was
told to speak on the security of the public faith,[222] he disclosed
every circumstance as it had really occurred, stating that he had been
admitted as an associate, a few days before, by Gabinius and Coeparius;
that he knew no more than the deputies, only that he used to hear from
Gabinius, that Publius Autronius, Servius Sylla, Lucius Vargunteius,
and many others, were engaged in the conspiracy. The Gauls made a
similar confession, and charged Lentulus, who began to affect ignorance,
not only with the letter to Catiline, but with remarks which he was in
the habit of making, "that the sovereignty of Rome, by the Sibylline
books, was predestined to three Cornelii; that Cinna and Sylla had ruled
already;[223] and that he himself was the third, whose fate it would be
to govern the city; and that this, too, was the twentieth year since the
Capitol was burned; a year which the augurs, from certain omens, had
often said would be stained with the blood of civil war."

The letter then being read, the senate, when all had previously
acknowledged their seals,[224] decreed that Lentulus, being deprived
of his office, should, as well as the rest, be placed in private
custody.[225] Lentulus, accordingly, was given in charge to Publius
Lentulus Spinther, who was then aedile; Cethegus, to Quintus
Cornificius; Statilius, to Caius Caesar; Gabinius, to Marcus Crassus;
and Coeparius, who had just before been arrested in his flight, to
Cneius Terentius, a senator.

XLVIII. The common people, meanwhile, who had at first, from a desire
of change in the government, been too much inclined to war, having, on
the discovery of the plot, altered their sentiments, began to execrate
the projects of Catiline, to extol Cicero to the skies; and, as if
rescued from slavery, to give proofs of joy and exultation. Other
effects of war they expected as a gain rather than a loss; but the
burning of the city they thought inhuman, outrageous, and fatal,
especially to themselves, whose whole property consisted in their
daily necessaries and the clothes which they wore.

On the following day, a certain Lucius Tarquinius was brought before
the senate, who was said to have been arrested as he was setting out
to join Catiline. This person, having offered to give information of
the conspiracy, if the public faith were pledged to him,[226] and
being directed by the consul to state what he knew, gave the senate
nearly the same account as Volturcius had given, concerning the
intended conflagration, the massacre of respectable citizens, and the
approach of the enemy, adding that "he was sent by Marcus Crassus to
assure Catiline that the apprehension of Lentulus, Cethegus, and
others of the conspirators, ought not to alarm him, but that he should
hasten, with so much the more expedition to the city, in order to
revive the courage of the rest, and to facilitate the escape of those
in custody".[227] When Tarquinius named Crassus, a man of noble birth,
of very great wealth, and of vast influence, some, thinking the
statement incredible, others, though they supposed it true, yet,
judging that at such a crisis a man of such power[228] was rather to
be soothed than irritated (most of them, too, from personal reasons,
being; under obligation to Crassus), exclaimed that he was "a false
witness," and demanded that the matter should be put to the vote.
Cicero, accordingly, taking their opinions, a full senate decreed
"that the testimony of Tarquinius appeared false; that he himself
should be kept in prison; and that no further liberty of speaking[229]
should be granted him, unless he should name the person at whose
instigation he had fabricated so shameful a calumny."

There were some, at that time, who thought that this affair was
contrived by Publius Autronius, in order that the interest of Crassus,
if he were accused, might, from participation in the danger, more
readily screen the rest. Others said that Tarquinius was suborned by
Cicero, that Crassus might not disturb the state, by taking upon him,
as was his custom,[230] the defense of the criminals. That this attack
on his character was made by Cicero, I afterward heard Crassus himself

XLIX. Yet, at the same time, neither by interest, nor by solicitation,
nor by bribes, could Quintus Catulus, and Caius Piso, prevail upon
Cicero to have Caius Caesar falsely accused, either by means of the
Allobroges, or any other evidence. Both of these men were at bitter
enmity with Caesar; Piso, as having been attacked by him, when he was
on[231] his trial for extortion, on a charge of having illegally put
to death a Transpadane Gaul; Catulus, as having hated him ever since
he stood for the pontificate, because, at an advanced age, and after
filling the highest offices, he had been defeated by Caesar, who was
then comparatively a youth.[232] The opportunity, too, seemed
favorable for such an accusation; for Caesar, by extraordinary
generosity in private, and by magnificent exhibitions in public,[233]
had fallen greatly into debt. But when they failed to persuade the
consul to such injustice, they themselves, by going from one person to
another, and spreading fictions of their own, which they pretended to
have heard from Volturcius or the Allobroges, excited such violent
odium against him, that certain Roman knights, who were stationed as
an armed guard round the Temple of Concord, being prompted, either by
the greatness of the danger, or by the impulse of a high spirit, to
testify more openly their zeal for the republic, threatened Caesar
with their swords as he went out of the senate-house.

L. While these occurrences were passing in the senate, and while
rewards were being voted, an approbation of their evidence, to the
Allobrogian deputies and to Titus Volturcius, the freedmen, and some
of the other dependents of Lentulus, were urging the artisans and
slaves, in various directions throughout the city,[234] to attempt his
rescue; some, too, applied to the ringleaders of the mob, who were
always ready to disturb the state for pay. Cethegus, at the same time,
was soliciting, through his agents, his slaves[235] and freedmen, men
trained to deeds of audacity, to collect themselves into an armed
body, and force a way into his place of confinement.

The consul, when he heard that these things were in agitation, having
distributed armed bodies of men, as the circumstances and occasion
demanded, called a meeting of the senate, and desired to know "what
they wished to be done concerning those who had been committed to
custody." A full senate, however, had but a short time before[236]
declared them traitors to their country. On this occasion, Decimus
Junius Silanus, who, as consul elect, was first asked his opinion,
moved[237] that capital punishment should be inflicted, not only on
those who were in confinement, but also on Lucius Cassius, Publius
Furius, Publius Umbrenus, and Quintus Annius, if they should be
apprehended; but afterward, being influenced by the speech of Caius
Caesar, he said that he would go over to the opinion of Tiberius
Nero,[238] who had proposed that the guards should be increased, and
that the senate should deliberate further on the matter. Caesar, when
it came to his turn, being asked his opinion by the consul, spoke to
the following effect:

LI. "It becomes all men,[239] Conscript Fathers, who deliberate on
dubious matters, to be influenced neither by hatred, affection, anger,
nor pity. The mind, when such feelings obstruct its view, can not
easily see what is right; nor has any human being consulted, at the
same moment, his passion and his interest. When the mind is freely
exerted, its reasoning is sound; but passion, if it gain possession of
it, becomes its tyrant, and reason is powerless.

I could easily mention, Conscript Fathers, numerous examples of kings
and nations, who, swayed by resentment or compassion, have adopted
injudicious courses of conduct; but I had rather speak of these
instances in which our ancestors, in opposition, to the impulse of
passion, acted with wisdom and sound policy.

In the Macedonian war, which we carried on against king Perses, the
great and powerful state of Rhodes, which had risen by the aid of the
Roman people, was faithless and hostile to us; yet, when the war was
ended, and the conduct of the Rhodians was taken into consideration,
our forefathers left them unmolested lest any should say that war was
made upon them for the sake of seizing their wealth, rather than of
punishing their faithlessness. Throughout the Punic war, too, though
the Carthaginians, both during peace and in suspension of arms, were
guilty of many acts of injustice, yet our ancestors never took
occasion to retaliate, but considered rather what was worthy of
themselves, than what might be justly inflicted on their enemies.

Similar caution, Conscript Fathers, is to be observed by yourselves,
that the guilt of Lentulus, and the other conspirators, may not have
greater weight with you than your own dignity, and that you may not
regard your indignation more than your character. If, indeed, a
punishment adequate to their crimes be discovered, I consent to
extraordinary measures;[240] but if the enormity of their crime
exceeds whatever can be devised,[241] I think that we should inflict
only such penalties as the laws have provided.

Most of those, who have given their opinions before me, have
deplored, in studied and impressive language,[242] the sad fate that
threatens the republic; they have recounted the barbarities of war,
and the afflictions that would fall on the vanquished; they have told
us that maidens would be dishonored, and youths abused; that children
would be torn from the embraces of their parents; that matrons would
be subjected to the pleasure of the conquerors; that temples and
dwelling-houses would be plundered; that massacres and fires would
follow; and that every place would be filled with arms, corpses,
blood, and lamentation. But to what end, in the name of the eternal
gods! was such eloquence directed? Was it intended to render you
indignant at the conspiracy? A speech, no doubt, will inflame him whom
so frightful and monstrous a reality has not provoked! Far from it:
for to no man does evil, directed against himself, appear a light
matter; many, on the contrary, have felt it more seriously than was

But to different persons, Conscript Fathers, different degrees of
license are allowed. If those who pass a life sunk in obscurity,
commit any error, through excessive anger, few become aware of it, for
their fame is as limited as their fortune; but of those who live
invested with extensive power, and in an exalted station, the whole
world knows the proceedings. Thus in the highest position there is the
least liberty of action; and it becomes us to indulge neither
partiality nor aversion, but least of all animosity; for what in
others is called resentment, is in the powerful termed violence and

I am indeed of opinion, Conscript Fathers, that the utmost degree of
torture is inadequate to punish their crime; but the generality of
mankind dwell on that which happens last, and, in the case of
malefactors, forget their guilt, and talk only of their punishment,
should that punishment have been inordinately severe. I feel assured,
too, that Decimus Silanus, a man of spirit and resolution, made the
suggestions which he offered, from zeal for the state, and that he had
no view, in so important a matter, to favor or to enmity; such I know
to be his character, and such his discretion.[243] Yet his proposal
appears to me, I will not say cruel (for what can be cruel that is
directed against such characters?), but foreign to our policy. For
assuredly, Silanus, either your fears, or their treason, must have
induced you, a consul elect, to propose this new kind of punishment.
Of fear it is unnecessary to speak, when by the prompt activity of
that distinguished man our consul, such numerous forces are under
arms; and as to the punishment, we may say, what is indeed the truth,
that in trouble and distress, death is a relief from suffering, and
not a torment;[244] that it puts an end to all human woes; and that,
beyond it, there is no place either for sorrow or joy.

But why, in the name of the immortal gods, did you not add to your
proposal, Silanus, that, before they were put to death, they should be
punished with the scourge? Was it because the Porcian law[245] forbids
it? But other laws[246] forbid condemned citizens to be deprived of
life, and allow them to go into exile. Or was it because scourging is
a severer penalty than death? Yet what can be too severe, or too
harsh, toward men convicted of such an offense? But if scourging be a
milder punishment than death, how is it consistent to observe the law
as to the smaller point, when you disregard it as to the greater?

But who it may be asked, will blame any severity that shall be
decreed against these parricides[247] of their country? I answer that
time, the course of events,[248] and fortune, whose caprice governs
nations, may blame it. Whatever shall fall on the traitors, will fall
on them justly; but it is for you, Conscript Fathers, to consider well
what you resolve to inflict on others. All precedents productive of
evil effects,[249] have had their origin from what was good; but when
a government passes into the hands of the ignorant or unprincipled,
any new example of severity,[250] inflicted on deserving and suitable
objects, is extended to those that are improper and undeserving of it.
The Lacedaemonians, when they had conquered the Athenians,[251]
appointed thirty men to govern their state. These thirty began their
administration by putting to death, even without a trial, all who were
notoriously wicked, or publicly detestable; acts at which the people
rejoiced, and extolled their justice. But afterward, when their
lawless power gradually increased, they proceeded, at their pleasure,
to kill the good and the bad indiscriminately, and to strike terror
into all; and thus the state, overpowered and enslaved, paid a heavy
penalty for its imprudent exultation.

Within our own memory, too, when the victorious Sylla ordered
Damasippus,[252] and others of similar character, who had risen by
distressing their country, to be put to death, who did not commend the
proceeding? All exclaimed that wicked and factious men, who had
troubled the state with their seditious practices, had justly
forfeited their lives. Yet this proceeding was the commencement of
great bloodshed. For whenever anyone coveted the mansion or villa, or
even the plate or apparel of another, he exerted his influence to have
him numbered among the proscribed. Thus they, to whom the death of
Damasippus had been a subject of joy, were soon after dragged to death
themselves; nor was there any cessation of slaughter, until Sylla had
glutted all his partisans with riches.

Such excesses, indeed, I do not fear from Marcus Tullius, or in these
times. But in a large state there arise many men of various
dispositions. At some other period, and under another consul, who,
like the present, may have an army at his command, some false
accusation may be credited as true; and when, with our example for a
precedent, the consul shall have drawn the sword on the authority of
the senate, who shall stay its progress, or moderate its fury?

Our ancestors, Conscript Fathers, were never deficient in conduct or
courage; nor did pride prevent them from imitating the customs of
other nations, if they appeared deserving of regard. Their armor, and
weapons of war, they borrowed from the Samnites; their ensigns of
authority,[253] for the most part, from the Etrurians; and, in short,
whatever appeared eligible to them, whether among allies or among
enemies, they adopted at home with the greatest readiness, being more
inclined to emulate merit than to be jealous of it. But at the same
time, adopting a practice from Greece, they punished their citizens
with the scourge, and inflicted capital punishment on such as were
condemned. When the republic, however, became powerful, and faction
grew strong from the vast number of citizens, men began to involve the
innocent in condemnation, and other like abuses were practiced; and it
was then that the Porcian and other laws were provided, by which
condemned citizens were allowed to go into exile. This lenity of our
ancestors, Conscript Fathers, I regard as a very strong reason why we
should not adopt any new measures of severity. For assuredly there was
greater merit and wisdom in those, who raised so mighty an empire from
humble means, than in us, who can scarcely preserve what they so
honorably acquired. Am I of opinion, then, you will ask, that the
conspirators should be set free, and that the army of Catiline should
thus be increased? Far from it; my recommendation is, that their
property be confiscated, and that they themselves be kept in custody
in such of the municipal towns as are best able to bear the
expense;[254] that no one hereafter bring their case before the
senate, or speak on it to the people; and that the senate now give
their opinion, that he who shall act contrary to this, will act
against the republic and the general safety."

LII. When Caesar had ended his speech, the rest briefly expressed
their assent,[255] some to one speaker, and some to another, in
support of their different proposals; but Marcius Porcius Cato, being
asked his opinion, made a speech to the following purport:

"My feelings, Conscript Fathers, are extremely different,[256] when I
contemplate our circumstances and dangers, and when I revolve in my
mind the sentiments of some who have spoken before me. Those speakers,
as it seems to me, have considered only how to punish the traitors who
have raised war against their country, their parents, their altars,
and their homes;[257] but the state of affairs warns us rather to
secure ourselves against them, than to take counsel as to what
sentence we should pass upon them. Other crimes you may punish after
they have been committed; but as to this, unless you prevent its
commission, you will, when it has once taken effect, in vain appeal to
justice.[258] When the city is taken, no power is left to the
vanquished. But, in the name of the immortal gods, I call upon you,
who have always valued your mansions and villas, your statues and
pictures, at a higher price than the welfare of your country; if you
wish to preserve those possessions, of whatever kind they are, to
which you are attached; if you wish to secure quiet for the enjoyment
of your pleasures, arouse yourselves, and act in defense of your
country. We are not now debating on the revenues, or on injuries done
to our allies, but our liberty and our life is at stake.

Often, Conscript Fathers, have I spoken at great length in this
assembly; often have I complained of the luxury and avarice of our
citizens, and, by that very means, have incurred the displeasure of
many. I, who never excused to myself, or to my own conscience, the
commission of any fault, could not easily pardon the misconduct,[259]
or indulge the licentiousness, of others. But though you little
regarded my remonstrances, yet the republic remained secure; its own
strength[260] was proof against your remissness. The question, however,
at present under discussion, is not whether we live in a good or a bad
state of morals; nor how great, or how splendid, the empire of the
Roman people is; but whether these things around us, of whatever value
they are, are to continue our own, or to fall, with ourselves, into the
hands of the enemy.

In such a case, does any one talk to me of gentleness and compassion?
For some time past, it is true, we have lost the real name of things;
[261] for to lavish the property of others is called generosity, and
audacity in wickedness is called heroism; and hence the state is reduced
to the brink of ruin. But let those, who thus misname things, be liberal,
since such is the practice, out of the property of our allies; let them
be merciful to the robbers of the treasury; but let them not lavish our
blood, and, while they spare a few criminals, bring destruction on all
the guiltless.

Caius Caesar, a short time ago, spoke in fair and elegant language,
[262] before this assembly, on the subject of life and death; considering
as false, I suppose, what is told of the dead; that the bad, going a
different way from the good, inhabit places gloomy, desolate, dreary, and
full of horror. He accordingly proposed _that the property of the
conspirators should be confiscated, and themselves kept in custody in
the municipal towns_; fearing, it seems, that, if they remain at Rome,
they may be rescued either by their accomplices in the conspiracy, or by
a hired mob; as if, forsooth, the mischievous and profligate were to be
found only in the city, and not through the whole of Italy, or as if
desperate attempts would not be more likely to succeed where there is
less power to resist them. His proposal, therefore, if he fears any
danger from them, is absurd; but if, amid such universal terror, he
alone is free from alarm, it the more concerns me to fear for you and

Be assured, then, that when you decide on the fate of Lentulus and
the other prisoners, you at the same time determine that of the army
of Catiline, and of all the conspirators. The more spirit you display
in your decision, the more will their confidence be diminished; but if
they shall perceive you in the smallest degree irresolute, they will
advance upon you with fury.

Do not suppose that our ancestors, from so small a commencement,
raised the republic to greatness merely by force of arms. If such had
been the case, we should enjoy it in a most excellent condition;[263]
for of allies and citizens,[264] as well as arms and horses, we have a
much greater abundance than they had. But there were other things
which made them great, but which among us have no existence; such as
industry at home, equitable government abroad, and minds impartial in
council, uninfluenced by any immoral or improper feeling. Instead of
such virtues, we have luxury and avarice; public distress, and private
superfluity; we extol wealth, and yield to indolence; no distinction
is made between good men and bad; and ambition usurps the honors due
to virtue. Nor is this wonderful; since you study each his individual
interest, and since at home you are slaves to pleasure, and here to
money or favor; and hence it happens that an attack is made on the
defenseless state.

But on these subjects I shall say no more. Certain citizens, of the
highest rank, have conspired to ruin their country; they are engaging
the Gauls, the bitterest foes of the Roman name, to join in a war
against us; the leader of the enemy is ready to make a descent upon
us; and do you hesitate; even in such circumstances, how to treat
armed incendiaries arrested within your walls? I advise you to have
mercy upon them;[265] they are young men who have been led astray by
ambition; send them away, even with arms in their hands. But such
mercy, and such clemency, if they turn those arms against you, will
end in misery to yourselves. The case is, assuredly, dangerous, but
you do not fear it; yes, you fear it greatly, but you hesitate how to
act, through weakness and want of spirit, waiting one for another, and
trusting to the immortal gods, who have so often preserved your
country in the greatest dangers. But the protection of the gods is not
obtained by vows and effeminate supplications; it is by vigilance,
activity, and prudent measures, that general welfare is secured. When
you are once resigned to sloth and indolence, it is in vain that you
implore the gods; for they are then indignant and threaten vengeance.

In the days of our forefathers, Titus Manlius Torquatus, during a war
with the Gauls, ordered his own son to be put to death, because he had
fought with an enemy contrary to orders. That noble youth suffered for
excess of bravery; and do you hesitate what sentence to pass on the
most inhuman of traitors? Perhaps their former life is at variance
with their present crime. Spare, then, the dignity of Lentulus, if he
has ever spared his own honor or character, or had any regard for gods
or for men. Pardon the youth of Cethegus, unless this be the second
time that he has made war upon his country.[266] As to Gabinius,
Slatilius, Coeparius, why should I make any remark upon them? Had they
ever possessed the smallest share of discretion, they would never have
engaged in such a plot against their country.

In conclusion, Conscript Fathers, if there were time to amend an
error, I might easily suffer you, since you disregard words, to be
corrected by experience of consequences. But we are beset by dangers on
all sides; Catiline, with his army, is ready to devour us;[267] while
there are other enemies within the walls, and in the heart of the
city; nor can any measures be taken, or any plans arranged, without
their knowledge. The more necessary is it, therefore, to act with
promptitude. What I advise, then, is this: that since the state, by a
treasonable combination of abandoned citizens, has been brought into
the greatest peril; and since the conspirators have been convicted on
the evidence of Titus Volturcius, and the deputies of the Allobroges,
and on their own confession, of having concerted massacres,
conflagrations, and other horrible and cruel outrages, against their
fellow-citizens and their country, punishment be inflicted, according
to the usage of our ancestors, on the prisoners who have confessed
their guilt, as on men convicted of capital crimes."

LIII. When Cato had resumed his seat, all the senators of consular
dignity, and a great part of the rest,[268] applauded his opinion, and
extolled his firmness of mind to the skies. With mutual reproaches,
they accused one another of timidity, while Cato was regarded as the
greatest and noblest of men; and a decree of the senate was made as he
had advised.

After reading and hearing of the many glorious achievements which the
Roman people had performed at home and in the field, by sea as well as
by land, I happened to be led to consider what had been the great
foundation of such illustrious deeds. I knew that the Romans had
frequently, with small bodies of men, encountered vast armies of the
enemy; I was aware that they had carried on wars[269] with limited
forces against powerful sovereigns; that they had often sustained,
too, the violence of adverse fortune; yet that, while the Greeks
excelled them in eloquence, the Gauls surpassed them in military
glory. After much reflection, I felt convinced that the eminent virtue
of a few citizens had been the cause of all these successes; and hence
it had happened that poverty had triumphed over riches, and a few over
a multitude. And even in later times, when the state had become
corrupted by luxury and indolence, the republic still supported
itself, by its own strength, under the misconduct of its generals and
magistrates; when, as if the parent stock were exhausted,[270] there
was certainly not produced at Rome, for many years, a single citizen
of eminent ability. Within my recollection, however, there arose two
men of remarkable powers, though of very different character, Marcus
Cato and Caius Caesar, whom, since the subject has brought them before
me, it is not my intention to pass in silence, but to describe, to the
best of my ability, the disposition and manners of each.

LIV. Their birth, age, and eloquence, were nearly on an equality;
their greatness of mind similar, as was also their reputation, though
attained by different means.[271] Caesar grew eminent by generosity
and munificence; Cato by the integrity of his life. Caesar was
esteemed for his humanity and benevolence; austereness had given
dignity to Cato. Caesar acquired renown by giving, relieving, and
pardoning; Cato by bestowing nothing. In Caesar, there was a refuge
for the unfortunate; in Cato, destruction for the bad. In Caesar, his
easiness of temper was admired; in Cato, his firmness. Caesar, in
fine, had applied himself to a life of energy and activity; intent
upon the interest of his friends, he was neglectful of his own; he
refused nothing to others that was worthy of acceptance, while for
himself he desired great power, the command of an army, and a new war
in which his talents might be displayed. But Cato's ambition was that
of temperance, discretion, and, above all, of austerity; he did not
contend in splendor with the rich, or in faction with the seditious,
but with the brave in fortitude, with the modest in simplicity,[272]
with the temperate[273] in abstinence; he was more desirous to be,
than to appear, virtuous; and thus, the less he courted popularity,
the more it pursued him.

LV. When the senate, as I have stated, had gone over to the opinion of
Cato, the counsel, thinking it best not to wait till night, which was
coming on, lest any new attempts should be made during the interval,
ordered the triumvirs[274] to make such preparations as the execution
of the conspirators required. He himself, having posted the necessary
guards, conducted Lentulus to the prison; and the same office was
performed for the rest by the praetors. There is a place in the
prison, which is called the Tullian dungeon,[275] and which, after a
slight ascent to the left, is sunk about twelve feet under ground.
Walls secure it on every side, and over it is a vaulted roof connected
with stone arches;[276] but its appearance is disgusting and horrible,
by reason of the filth, darkness, and stench. When Lentulus had been
let down into this place, certain men, to whom orders had been
given,[277] strangled him with a cord. Thus this patrician, who was of
the illustrious family of the Cornelii, and who filled the office of
consul at Rome, met with an end suited to his character and conduct.
On Cethegus, Statilius, Gabinius, and Coeparius, punishment was
inflicted in a similar manner.

LVI. During these proceedings at Rome, Catiline, out of the entire
force which he himself had brought with him, and that which Manlius
had previously collected, formed two legions, filling up the cohorts
as far as his number would allow;[278] and afterward, as any
volunteers, or recruits from his confederates,[279] arrived in his
camp, he distributed them equally throughout the cohorts, and thus
filled up his legions, in a short time, with their regular number of
men, though at first he had not more than two thousand. But, of his
whole army, only about a fourth part had the proper weapons of
soldiers; the rest, as chance had equipped them, carried darts,
spears, or sharpened stakes.

As Antonius approached with his army, Catiline directed his march over
the hills, encamping, at one time, in the direction of Rome, at
another in that of Gaul. He gave the enemy no opportunity of fighting,
yet hoped himself shortly to find one,[280] if his accomplices at Rome
should succeed in their objects. Slaves, meanwhile, of whom vast numbers
[281] had at first flocked to him, he continued to reject, not only as
depending on the strength of the conspiracy, but as thinking it impolitic
[282] to appear to share the cause of citizens with runagates.

LVII. When it was reported in his camp, however, that the conspiracy
had been discovered at Rome, and that Lentulus, Cethegus, and the rest
whom I have named, had been put to death, most of those whom the hope
of plunder, or the love of change, had led to join in the war, fell
away. The remainder Catiline conducted, over rugged mountains, and by
forced marches, into the neighborhood of Pistoria, with a view to
escape covertly, by cross roads, into Gaul.

But Quintus Metellus Celer, with a force of three legions, had at that
time, his station in Picenum, who suspected that Catiline, from the
difficulties of his position, would adopt precisely the course which
we have just described. When, therefore, he had learned his route from
some deserters, he immediately broke up his camp, and took his post at
the very foot of the hills, at the point where Catiline's descent
would be, in his hurried march into Gaul[283]. Nor was Antonius far
distant, as he was pursuing, though with, a large army, yet through
plainer ground, and with fewer hinderances, the enemy in retreat.[284]

Catiline, when he saw that he was surrounded by mountains and by
hostile forces, that his schemes in the city had been unsuccessful,
and that there was no hope either of escape or of succor, thinking it
best, in such circumstances, to try the fortune of a battle, resolved
upon engaging, as speedily as possible, with Antonius. Having,
therefore, assembled his troops, he addressed them in the following

LVIII. "I am well aware, soldiers, that words can not inspire courage;
and that a spiritless army can not be rendered active,[285] or a timid
army valiant, by the speech of its commander. Whatever courage is in
the heart of a man, whether from nature or from habit, so much will be
shown by him in the field; and on him whom neither glory nor danger
can move, exhortation is bestowed in vain; for the terror in his
breast stops his ears.

I have called you together, however, to give you a few instructions,
and to explain to you, at the same time, my reasons for the course
which I have adopted. You all know, soldiers, how severe a penalty the
inactivity and cowardice of Lentulus has brought upon himself and us;
and how, while waiting for reinforcements from the city, I was unable
to march into Gaul.

In what situation our affairs now are, you all understand as well as
myself. Two armies of the enemy, one on the side of Rome, and the
other on that of Gaul, oppose our progress; while the want of corn,
and of other necessaries, prevents us from remaining, however strongly
we may desire to remain, in our present position. Whithersoever we
would go, we must open a passage with our swords. I conjure you,
therefore, to maintain a brave and resolute spirit; and to remember,
when you advance to battle, that on your own right hands depend[286]
riches, honor, and glory, with the enjoyment of your liberty and of
your country. If we conquer, all will be safe; we shall have
provisions in abundance; and the colonies and corporate towns will
open their gates to us. But if we lose the victory through want of
courage, these same places[287] will turn against us; for neither
place nor friend will protect him whom his arms have not protected.
Besides, soldiers, the same exigency does not press upon our
adversaries, as presses upon us; we fight for our country, for our
liberty, for our life; they contend for what but little concerns
them,[288] the power of a small party. Attack them, therefore, with so
much the greater confidence, and call to mind your achievements of

We might,[289] with the utmost ignominy, have passed the rest of our
days in exile. Some of you, after losing your property, might have
waited at Rome for assistance from others. But because such a life, to
men of spirit, was disgusting and unendurable, you resolved upon your
present course. If you wish to quit it, you must exert all your
resolution, for none but conquerors have exchanged war for peace. To
hope for safety in flight, when you have turned away from the enemy
the arms by which the body is defended, is indeed madness. In battle,
those who are most afraid are always in most danger; but courage is
equivalent to a rampart. When I contemplate you, soldiers, and when I
consider your past exploits, a strong hope of victory animates me.
Your spirit, your age, your valor, give me confidence; to say nothing
of necessity, which makes even cowards brave. To prevent the numbers
of the enemy from surrounding us, our confined situation is
sufficient. But should Fortune be unjust to your valor, take care not
to lose your lives unavenged; take care not to be taken and butchered
like cattle, rather than fighting like men, to leave to your enemies a
bloody and mournful victory."

LIX. When he had thus spoken, he ordered, after a short delay, the
signal for battle to be sounded, and led down his troops, in regular
order, to the level ground. Having then sent away the horses of all
the cavalry, in order to increase the men's courage by making their
danger equal, he himself, on foot, drew up his troops suitably to
their numbers and the nature of the ground. As a plain stretched
between the mountains on the left, with a rugged rock on the right, he
placed eight cohorts in front, and stationed the rest of his force, in
close order, in the rear.[290] From among these he removed all the
ablest centurions,[291] the veterans,[293] and the stoutest of the
common soldiers that were regularly armed, into the foremost
ranks.[293] He ordered Caius Manlius to take the command on the right,
and a certain officer of Faesulae[294] on the left; while he himself,
with his freedmen[295] and the colonists,[296] took his station by the
eagle,[297] which Caius Marius was said to have had in his army in the
Cimbrian war.

On the other side, Caius Antonius, who, being lame,[298] was unable to
be present in the engagement, gave the command of the army to Marcus
Petreius, his lieutenant-general. Petreius, ranged the cohorts of
veterans, which he had raised to meet the present insurrection,[299]
in front, and behind them the rest of his force in lines. Then, riding
round among his troops, and addressing his men by name, he encouraged
them, and bade them remember that they were to fight against unarmed
marauders, in defense of their country, their children, their temples,
and their homes.[300] Being a military man, and having served with
great reputation, for more than thirty years, as tribune, praefect,
lieutenant, or praetor, he knew most of the soldiers and their
honorable actions, and, by calling these to their remembrance, roused
the spirits of the men.

LX. When he had made a complete survey, he gave the signal with the
trumpet, and ordered the cohorts to advance slowly. The army of the
enemy followed his example; and when they approached so near that the
action could be commenced by the light-armed troops, both sides, with
a loud shout, rushed together in a furious charge.[301] They threw
aside their missiles, and fought only with their swords. The veterans,
calling to mind their deeds of old, engaged fiercely in the closest
combat. The enemy made an obstinate resistance; and both sides
contended with the utmost fury. Catiline, during this time, was
exerting himself with his light troops in the front, sustaining such
as were pressed, substituting fresh men for the wounded, attending to
every exigency, charging in person, wounding many an enemy, and
performing at once the duties of a valiant soldier and a skillful

When Petreius, contrary to his expectation, found Catiline attacking
him with such impetuosity, he led his praetorian cohort against the
centre of the enemy, among whom, being thus thrown into confusion, and
offering but partial resistance,[302] he made great slaughter, and
ordered, at the same time, an assault on both flanks. Manlius and the
Faesulan, sword in hand, were among the first[303] that fell; and
Catiline, when he saw his army routed, and himself left with but few
supporters, remembering his birth and former dignity, rushed into the
thickest of the enemy, where he was slain, fighting to the last.

LXI. When the battle was over, it was plainly seen what boldness, and
what energy of spirit, had prevailed throughout the army of Catiline;
for, almost every where, every soldier, after yielding up his breath,
covered with his corpse the spot which he had occupied when alive. A
few, indeed, whom the praetorian cohort had dispersed, had fallen
somewhat differently, but all with wounds in front. Catiline himself
was found, far in advance of his men, among the dead bodies of the
enemy; he was not quite breathless, and still expressed in his
countenance the fierceness of spirit which he had shown during his
life. Of his whole army, neither in the battle, nor in flight, was any
free-born citizen made prisoner, for they had spared their own lives
no more than those of the enemy.

Nor did the army of the Roman people obtain a joyful or bloodless
victory; for all their bravest men were either killed in the battle,
or left the field severely wounded.

Of many who went from the camp to view the ground, or plunder the
slain, some, in turning over the bodies of the enemy, discovered a
friend, others an acquaintance, others a relative; some, too,
recognized their enemies. Thus, gladness and sorrow, grief and joy,
were variously felt throughout the whole army.


[1] I. Desire to excel other animals--_Sese student praestare
caeteris animalibus._ The pronoun, which is usually omitted, is, says
Cortius, not without its force; for it is equivalent to _ut ipsi_:
student _ut ipsi praestent_. In support of his opinion he quotes, with
other passages, Plaut. Asinar. i. 3, 31: Vult placere sese amicae,
i.e. vult _ut ipse amicae placeat_; and Coelius Antipater apud Festum
in "Topper," Ita uti sese quisque vobis studeat aemulari, i.e.
_studeat ut ipse aemuletur._ This explanation is approved by Bernouf.
Cortius might have added Cat. 7: _sese_ quisque hostem _ferire
--properabat._ "Student," Cortius interprets by "cupiunt."

[2] To the utmost of their power--_Summa ope_, with their utmost
ability. "A Sallustian mode of expression. Cicero would have said
_summa opera, summo studio, summa contentione._ Ennius has '_Summa
nituntur opum vi_.'" Colerus.

[3] In obscurity--_Silentio._ So as to have nothing said of them,
either during their lives or at their death. So in c. 2: _Eorum ego
vitam mortemque juxta aestumo, quoniam de utraque siletur_. When Ovid
says, _Bene qui latuit, bene vixit,_ and Horace, _Nec vixit male, qui
vivens moriensque fefellit,_ they merely signify that he has some
comfort in life, who, in ignoble obscurity, escapes trouble and
censure. But men thus undistinguished are, in the estimation of
Sallust, little superior to the brute creation. "Optimus quisque,"
says Muretus, quoting Cicero, "honoris et gloriae studio maxime
ducitur;" the ablest men are most actuated by the desire of honor and
glory, and are more solicitous about the character which they will
bear among posterity. With reason, therefore, does Pallas, in the
Odyssey, address the following exhortation to Telemachus:

"Hast thou not heard how young Orestes, fir'd
With great revenge, immortal praise acquir'd?

O greatly bless'd with ev'ry blooming grace,
With equal steps the paths of glory trace!
Join to that royal youth's your rival name,
And shine eternal in the sphere of fame."

[4] Like the beasts of the field--_Veluti pecora._ Many translators
have rendered _pecora_ "brutes" or "beasts;" _pecus_, however, does
not mean brutes in general, but answers to our English word _cattle_.

[5] Groveling--_Prona._ I have adopted _groveling_ from Mair's
old translation. _Pronus_, stooping _to the earth_, is applied to
_cattle_, in opposition to _erectus_, which is applied to _man_; as
in the following lines of Ovid, Met. i.:

"_Prona_ que cum spectent animalia caetera terram,
Os homini sublime dedit, coelumque tueri
Jussit, et _erectos_ ad sidera tollere vultus."

"--while the mute creation downward bend
Their sight, and to their earthly mother tend,
Man looks aloft, and with erected eyes
Beholds his own hereditary skies." _Dryden._

Which Milton (Par. L. vii. 502) has paraphrased:

"There wanted yet the master-work, the end
Of all yet done; a creature, who not _prone
And 'brute as other creatures_, but endued
With sanctity of reason, might _erect_
_His stature_, and _upright with front serene_
Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence
Magnanimous to correspond with heaven."
"Nonne vides hominum ut celsos ad sidera vultus
Sustulerit Deus, et sublimia fluxerit ora,
Cum pecudes, voluerumque genus, formasque ferarum,
Segnem atque obscoenam passim stravisset in alvum."

"See'st thou not how the Deity has rais'd
The countenance of man erect to heav'n,
Gazing sublime, while prone to earth he bent
Th' inferior tribes, reptiles, and pasturing herds,
And beasts of prey, to appetite enslav'd"

"When Nature," says Cicero, de Legg. i. 9, "had made other animals
abject, and consigned them to the pastures, she made man alone
upright, and raised him to the contemplation of heaven, as of his
birthplace and former abode;" a passage which Dryden seems to have had
in his mind when he translated the lines of Ovid cited above. Let us
add Juvenal, xv, 146.

"Sensum a coelesti demissum traximus arce,
Cujus egent prona et terram spectantia."

"To us is reason giv'n, of heav'nly birth,
Denied to beasts, that prone regard the earth."

[6] All our power is situate in the mind and in the body--_Sed
omnis nostra vis in animo et corpore sita_. All our power is placed,
or consists, in our mind and our body. The particle _sed,_ which is
merely a connective, answering to the Greek _de_, and which would be
useless in an English translation, I have omitted.

[7] Of the mind we--employ the government--_Animi imperio--utimur_.
"What the Deity is in the universe, the mind is in man; what matter
is to the universe, the body is to us; let the worse, therefore,
serve the better."--Sen. Epist. lxv. _Dux et imperator vitae mortalium
animus est,_ the mind is the guide and ruler of the life of mortals.
--Jug. c. 1. "An animal consists of mind and body, of which the one
is formed by nature to rule, and the other to obey."--Aristot. Polit.
i. 5. Muretus and Graswinckel will supply abundance of similar passages.

[8] Of the mind we rather employ the government; of the body, the
service--_Animi imperio, corporis servitio, magis utimur_. The word
_magis_ is not to be regarded as useless. "It signifies," says Cortius,
"that the mind rules, and the body obeys, _in general_, and _with
greater reason_." At certain times the body may _seem to have the
mastery_, as when we are under the irresistible influence of hunger
or thirst.

[9] It appears to me, therefore, more reasonable, etc.--_Quo mihi
rectius videtur_, etc. I have rendered _quo_ by _therefore_. "_Quo_,"
observes Cortius, "is _propter quod_, with the proper force of the
ablative case. So Jug. c. 84: _Quo_ mihi acrius adnitendum est, etc;
c. 2, _Quo_ magis pravitas eorum admiranda est. Some expositors would
force us to believe that these ablatives are inseparably connected
with the comparative degree, as in _quo minus, eo major_, and similar
expressions; whereas common sense shows that they can not be so
connected." Kritzius is one of those who interprets in the way to
which Cortius alludes, as if the drift of the passage were, _Quanto
magis animus corpori praestat, tanto rectius ingenii opibus gloriam
quaerere_. But most of the commentators and translators rightly follow
Cortius. "_Quo_," says Pappaur, "is for _quocirca_."

[10] _That of_ intellectual power is illustrious and immortal--_Virtus
clara aeternaque habetur_. The only one of our English translators who
has given the right sense of _virtus_ In this passage, is Sir Henry
Steuart, who was guided to it by the Abbe Thyvon and M. Beauzee.
"It appears somewhat singular," says Sir Henry, "that none of the
numerous translators of Sallust, whether among ourselves or among
foreign nations--the Abbe Thyvon and M. Beauzee excepted--have thought
of giving to the word _virtus_, in this place, what so obviously is the
meaning intended by the historian; namely, 'genius, ability,
distinguished talents.'" Indeed, the whole tenor of the passage, as well
as the scope of the context, leaves no room to doubt the fact. The main
objects of comparison, throughout the three first sections of this
Proemium, or introductory discourse, are not vice and virtue, but body
and mind; a listless indolence, and a vigorous, honorable activity.
On this account it is pretty evident, that by _virtus_ Sallust could
never mean the [Greek _aretae_], 'virtue or moral worth,' but that he
had in his eye the well-known interpretation of Varro, who considers it
_ut viri vis_ (De Ling. Lat. iv.), as denoting the useful energy which
ennobles a man, and should chiefly distinguish him among his
fellow-creatures. In order to be convinced of the justice of this
rendering, we need only turn to another passage of our author, in the
second section of the Proemium to the Jugurthine War, where the same
train of thought is again pursued, although he gives it somewhat a
different turn in the piece last mentioned. The object, notwithstanding,
of both these dissertations is to illustrate, in a striking manner, the
pre-eminence of the mind over extrinsic advantage, or bodily endowments,
and to show that it is by genius alone that we may aspire to a reputation
which shall never die. "_Igitur praeclara facies, magnae divitiae,
adhuc vis corporis, et alia hujusmondi omnia, brevi dilabuntur: at
ingenii egregia facinora, sicut anima, immortalia sunt_".

[11] It is necessary to plan before beginning to act--_Priusquam
incipias, consulto--opus est_. Most translators have rendered
_consulto_ "deliberation," or something equivalent; but it is
_planning_ or _contrivance_ that is signified. Demosthenes, in his
Oration _de Pace_, reproaches the Athenians with acting without any
settled plan: [Greek: _Oi men gar alloi puntes anthropoi pro ton
pragmatonheiothasi chraesthai to Bouleuesthai, umeis oude meta ta

[12] To act with promptitude and vigor--_Mature facto opus est_.


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