Cicero, Pro Lege Manilia

LCL 198: 44-45

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quis umquam arbitraretur aut ab omnibus imperatoribus uno anno aut omnibus annis ab uno 32imperatore confici posse? Quam provinciam tenuistis a praedonibus liberam per hosce annos? quod vectigal vobis tutum fuit? quem socium defendistis? cui praesidio classibus vestris fuistis? quam multas existimatis insulas esse desertas, quam multas aut metu relictas aut a praedonibus captas urbes esse sociorum?

XII. Sed quid ego longinqua commemoro? Fuit hoc quondam, fuit proprium populi Romani, longe a domo bellare et propugnaculis imperii sociorum fortunas, non sua tecta defendere. Sociis ego nostris mare per hos annos clausum fuisse dicam, cum exercitus vestri numquam a Brundisio nisi hieme summa transmiserint? Qui ad vos ab exteris nationibus venirent, captos querar, cum legati populi Romani redempti sint? Mercatoribus tutum mare non fuisse dicam, cum duodecim secures in praedonum potestatem 33pervenerint? Cnidum aut Colophonem aut Samum, nobilissimas urbes, innumerabilesque alias captas esse commemorem, cum vestros portus atque eos portus, quibus vitam ac spiritum ducitis, in praedonum fuisse potestate sciatis? An vero ignoratis portum Caietae celeberrimum ac plenissimum navium inspectante praetore a praedonibus esse direptum, ex Miseno autem eius ipsius liberos, qui cum praedonibus antea ibi bellum gesserat, a praedonibus

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On The Manilian Law

so extensive, could be brought to an end either by any number of generals in a single year or by a single general in any number of years? What32 province did you keep free from the pirates during those years? What source of revenue was secure for you? What ally did you protect? To whom did your navy prove a defence? How many islands do you suppose were deserted, how many of your allies’ cities either abandoned through fear or captured by the pirates?

XII. But why do I remind you of events in distant places? Time was, long since, when it was Rome’s peculiar boast that the wars she fought were far from home and that the outposts of her empire were defending the prosperity of her allies, not the homes of her own citizens. Need I mention that the sea during those wars was closed to our allies, when your own armies never made the crossing from Brundisium save in the depth of winter? Need I lament the capture of envoys on their way to Rome from foreign countries, when ransom has been paid for the ambassadors of Rome? Need I mention that the sea was unsafe for merchantmen, when twelve lictors have fallen into the hands of pirates? Need I33 record the capture of the noble cities of Cnidus and Colophon and Samos and of countless others, when you well know that your own harbours and those, too, through which you draw the very breath of your life, have been in the hands of the pirates? Are you indeed unaware that the famous port of Caieta, when crowded with shipping, was plundered by the pirates under the eyes of the praetor, and that from Misenum the children of the very man who had previously fought there against the piratesa were

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.marcus_tullius_cicero-pro_lege_manilia.1927