Pro L. Flacco Oratio
1Cum in maximis periculis huius urbis atque imperi, gravissimo atque acerbissimo rei publicae casu, socio atque adiutore consiliorum periculorumque meorum L. Flacco, caedem a vobis, coniugibus, liberis vestris, vastitatem a templis, delubris, urbe, Italia depellebam, sperabam, iudices, honoris potius L. Flacci me adiutorem futurum quam miseriarum deprecatorem. Quod enim esset praemium dignitatis quod populus Romanus, cum huius maioribus semper detulisset, huic denegaret, cum L. Flaccus veterem Valeriae gentis in liberanda patria laudem prope quingentesimo 2 anno rei publicae rettulisset? Sed si forte aliquando aut benefici huius obtrectator aut virtutis hostis aut laudis invidus exstitisset, existimabam L. Flacco multitudinis potius imperitae, nullo tamen cum periculo, quam sapientissimorum et lectissimorum virorum iudicium esse subeundum. Etenim quibus auctoribus et defensoribus omnium tum salus
Speech in Defence of Lucius Valerius Flaccus
Amid the direst perils of Rome and of our Empire, in 1 that most grievous hour of crisis for the Republic, Lucius Flaccus was my companion and helper in my deliberations and my dangers. With his aid I rescued you, your wives and your children from death; our temples and shrines, our city and Italy from devastation. I hoped, gentlemen, that I would be helping Flaccus win the high honour of office,a not that I would be protecting him from personal tragedy. What reward of high office was there that the Roman people would deny to him when it had always granted such rewards to his ancestors? This it had done from that time when, almost five hundred years after the foundation of the Republic, he had revived the ancient glory won by the Valerii in their liberation of our fatherland.b But if there had ever chanced to be 2 one to belittle the services of Lucius Flaccus, to attack his personal courage or to begrudge him his reputation, I reckoned that Flaccus would have to submit to the verdict of the uneducated mob—though this would not endanger him in any way—rather than to the pick of our most intelligent men. Of those who at that time were its authors and
- aThe consulship. Flaccus had been praetor in 63; his colleague in the praetorship, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Celer, became consul in 60.
- bPublius Valerius Publicola had expelled the Tarquins in 509 and had been made consul; Lucius Valerius Publicola had been consul in 449; Lucius Valerius Flaccus had been consul in 195 and censor in 184; Lucius Valerius Flaccus had been consul in 100, censor in 97, interrex and magister equitum in 86 and princeps senatus in 85.