Ο δὲ δὴ Μάρκος παρὰ τοῦ Οὐήρου1 τοῦ τῆς Καππαδοκίας ἄρχοντος τὴν ἐπανάστασιν αὐτοῦ μαθὼν τέως μὲν συνέκρυπτεν αὐτά, ἐπεὶ δὲ οἱ στρατιῶται τῇ τε φήμῃ ἰσχυρῶς ταράσσοντο καὶ ἐλογοποίουν πολλά, συνεκάλεσεν αὐτοὺς καὶ ἀνέγνω τοιάδε·
“Οὐκ ἀγανακτήσων, ὦ συστρατιῶται, ἢ ὀδυρούμενος παρελήλυθα. χαλεπαίνειν μὲν γὰρ τί δεῖ πρὸς τὸ δαιμόνιον, ᾧ πάντα ἔξεστιν; ὀλοφύρεσθαι δὲ ἴσως ἀνάγκη τοὺς ἀδίκως δυστυχοῦντας· ὃ καὶ ἐμοὶ νῦν συμβέβηκε. πῶς γὰρ οὐ δεινὸν πολέμοις ἡμᾶς ἐκ πολέμων συμφέρεσθαι; πῶς δ᾿ οὐκ ἄτοπον καὶ ἐμφυλίῳ συμπλακῆναι; πῶς οὐκ ἀμφότερα καὶ δεινότητι καὶ ἀτοπίᾳ νικᾷ, τὸ μηδὲν πιστὸν ἐν ἀνθρώποις εἶναι,2 ἀλλ᾿ ἐπιβεβουλεῦσθαι τέ με ὑπὸ τοῦ φιλτάτου καὶ ἐς ἀγῶνα ἀκούσιον καθίστασθαι μήτε τι ἠδικηκότα μήτε πεπλημμεληκότα;3 τίς μὲν γὰρ ἀρετὴ ἀσφαλής, τίς δὲ φιλία ἔτι νομισθήσεται ἐμοῦ ταῦτα πεπονθότος; πῶς δ᾿ οὐκ ἀπόλωλε μὲν πίστις,4 ἀπόλωλε δὲ ἐλπὶς ἀγαθή; ἀλλ᾿ εἰ μὲν μόνος ἐγὼ ἐκινδύνευον, παρ᾿ οὐδὲν ἂν τὸ πρᾶγμα ἐποιησάμην· οὐ γάρ που καὶ ἀθάνατος ἐγεννήθην· ἐπεὶ δὲ δημοσία τε ἀπόστασις, μᾶλλον δὲ ἐπανάστασις, γέγονε, καὶ ὁ πόλεμος πάντων ὁμοίως ἡμῶν ἅπτεται, ἐβουλόμην, εἰ οἷόν τε ἦν, προσκαλέσασθαι τὸν Κάσσιον καὶ δικαιολογήσασθαι πρὸς αὐτὸν παρ᾿ ὑμῖν ἢ παρὰ τῇ γερουσίᾳ· καὶ ἡδέως ἂν ἀμαχὶ παρεχώρησα αὐτῷ τῆς ἡγεμονίας, εἰ τοῦτο τῷ κοινῷ συμφέρειν ἐδοκεῖ. ὑπὲρ τοῦ κοινοῦ γὰρ καὶ πονῶν καὶ κινδυνεύων διατελῶ, τοσοῦτόν τε ἐνταυθοῖ χρόνον ἔξω τῆς Ἰταλίας πεποίηκα, ἄνθρωπος
The Speeches of Marcus
Speech to the Army on the news of the Revolt of Cassius, 175 a.d.
Marcus, learning of the revolt from Verus, the Governor of Cappadocia, kept the news secret for a time, but as the soldiers were both greatly perturbed by the rumour and were freely discussing it, he called them together and read the following speech:
“It is not, 0 fellow soldiers, to give way to resentment or lamentations that I am come before you. For what avails it to be wroth with the Divinity that can do whatever pleaseth Him? Still, perhaps, they that are undeservedly unfortunate cannot but bewail their lot; and that is the case with me now. For it is surely a terrible thing for us to be engaged in wars upon wars; surely it is shocking to be involved even in civil strife, and surely it is more than terrible and more than shocking that there is no faith to be found among men, and that I have been plotted against by one whom I held most dear and, although I had done no wrong and committed no transgression, have been forced into a conflict against my will. For what rectitude shall be held safe, what friendship be any longer deemed secure, seeing that this has befallen me? Has not Faith utterly perished, and good Hope perished with it? Yet I had counted it a slight thing, had the danger been mine alone—for assuredly I was not born immortal—but now that there has been a defection, or rather a revolt, in the state, and the war comes home to all of us equally, I would gladly, had it been possible, have invited Cassius to argue the question out before you or before the Senate, and willingly without a contest have made way for him in the supreme power, had that seemed expedient for the common weal. For it is only in the public interest that I continue to incur toil and danger, and have spent so much time here beyond the bounds of Italy, an old man as I now am