Cicero, Pro Lege Manilia

LCL 198: 38-39

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aures imperatoris non ex proelio nuntius, sed ex 26sermone rumor adferret. Hic in illo ipso malo gravissimaque belli offensione L. Lucullus, qui tamen aliqua ex parte iis incommodis mederi fortasse potuisset, vestro iussu coactus, quod imperii diuturnitati modum statuendum vetere exemplo putavistis, partem militum, qui iam stipendiis confectis erant, dimisit, partem M’. Glabrioni tradidit. Multa praetereo consulto; sed ea vos coniectura perspicite, quantum illud bellum factum putetis, quod coniungant reges potentissimi, renovent agitatae nationes, suscipiant integrae gentes, novus imperator noster accipiat vetere exercitu pulso.

27X. Satis mihi multa verba fecisse videor, quare esset hoc bellum genere ipso necessarium, magnitudine periculosum; restat, ut de imperatore ad id bellum deligendo ac tantis rebus praeficiendo dicendum esse videatur.

Utinam, Quirites, virorum fortium atque innocentium copiam tantam haberetis, ut haec vobis deliberatio difficilis esset, quemnam potissimum tantis rebus ac tanto bello praeficiendum putaretis! Nunc vero cum sit unus Cn. Pompeius, qui non modo eorum hominum, qui nunc sunt, gloriam, sed etiam antiquitatis memoriam virtute superarit, quae res est, quae cuiusquam animum in hac causa dubium facere 28possit? Ego enim sic existimo, in summo imperatore quattuor has res inesse oportere, scientiam rei militaris, virtutem, auctoritatem, felicitatem. Quis igitur hoc homine scientior umquam aut fuit aut esse


On The Manilian Law

but the rumour of the countryside which brought the tidings of it to the general’s ears. Here in the26 very hour of disaster and of a most serious reverse, because you thought that, out of deference to old precedent, some limit should be set to his long tenure of command, Lucullus—a man who might perhaps have been able in some measure to repair these losses—was by your orders compelled to disband a part of his troops, who had served their time, and to hand over a part to Manius Glabrio. There is much that I leave out on purpose: you must supply the omission for yourselves and realize what magnitude this war must have attained when it is waged in concert by two most powerful kings, renewed by tribes in ferment, taken up by fresh nations and entrusted, after the defeat of the old army, to a new Roman general.

X. I think I have said enough to show why this27 war is by its nature necessary and in its magnitude dangerous: it remains, I think, to speak of the choice of a general to direct the war and of his appointment to a command of such importance.

I only wish, gentlemen, that you had so large a supply of brave and upright men as to make it difficult for you now to decide whom to put in charge of these great issues and of this great war! But as it is, since Gnaeus Pompeius stands alone as one whose merit has surpassed in glory not only his contemporaries but even the annals of the past, what consideration exists such as to cause anyone to hesitate at this juncture? For I consider that28 a perfect general must possess four attributes—knowledge of warfare, ability, prestige, and luck. Who, then, ever possessed or had reason to possess

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-pro_lege_manilia.1927