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Tac. Ann. 4.34-5

  15, 2017 12:42
 

the Plea of Cremutius Cordus


4.34  "Conscript Fathers, my words are blamed; So far I'm innocent of deeds; Nor are my words against Princeps or his parent, whom Lex Maiestas embraces.  I am said to have applaud Brutus and Cassius; Though many have recorded their deeds, none has mentioned (them) without honour.  Titus Livy, distinguished for his eloquence and faith among great men, treated Gn. Pompey with such praises that Augustus called him Pompeian; But it didn't oppose their friendship. He often mentioned Scipio, Afranius, the very Cassius, and the very Brutus as remarkable men; nowhere as 'brigands' or 'parricides', the words which are now imposed (upon them).  The writings of Asinius Pollio treated their memory as distinguished; Messala Corvinus praised Cassius as his imperator: And each (of them) flourished in wealth and honour.  Did the dictator Caesar return anything other than  an opposing oration, as if (he were) among judges, to the book of Marcus Cicero, in which he compared Cato with Heaven?;  Antony's epistles and Brutus' orations have insults against Augustus, the ones full of untruth and harshness; The poems of Bibaculus and Catullus, filled with insults to Caesarians, are (yet) read: But the divine Julius and the divine Augustus tolerated and left them; I can't tell asily whether (they did so) more with moderation than with wisdom.  In fact, those despised (=neglected) stop growing; but if you get angry, they seem to be recognised (by you).


4.35  "I don't mention Greeks, whose freedom of speech and even licence were unpanished; or if someone turned to it, he avenged words with words.  However, it was absolutely free and without detractor to write on those whom death had removed from hatred and friendship.  Am I instigating people to the civil war with orations, when Brutus and Cassius are armed and the plains of Philippi are occupied?  Or, even 
before the 70th years after their death, as they are known (to us) for their statues, which even the conquerer hasn't destroyed, so they keep the part of their memory among writers, don't they?  The future generation rewards each one with honour; If a condemnation attacks (me), those who remember not only Brutus and Cassius but also me won't be absent."



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