Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cicero, In Defense of Publius Quinctius


Marcus Tullius Cicero [Cicero or Tully]
106-43 BC
*executed by 2nd Triumvirate (specifically Mark Antony)
Trans RMBullard
Latin (Republican Era/Golden Age of Latin Literature)

I. Quae res in civitate duae plurimum possunt, eae contra nos ambae faciunt in hoc tempore, summa gratia et eloquentia; quarum alterum, C. Aquili, vereor, alteram metuo.
[The two things that can most empower a person in our city, the highest reputation and eloquence, are both things that act against our purpose at this period of time; I'm ashamed of the first, Gaius Aquilius, and I fear the second.]

Eloquentia Q. Hortensi ne me in dicendo impediat, non nihil commoveor, gratia Sex. Naevi ne P. Quinctio noceat, id vero non mediocriter pertimesco.

[Don't let Quintus Hortensius' eloquence stop me from speaking: I'm not moved a single bit. Don't let Sextus Naevius' good standing damage Publius Quinctius' case: I truly shudder at it, and in no small way.]
*Hortensius and Naevius are the opposing lawyers to Cicero
* Quinctius is Cicero's client on trial

Neque hoc tanto opere querendum videretur, haec summa in illis esse, si in nobis essent saltem mediocria;

[And one should not think it something to be so sought after, that these are the best qualities in these men I talk about, if they should be only moderate in ourselves by comparison.]

verum ita se res habet, ut ego, qui neque usu satis et ingenio parum possum, cum patrono disertissimo comparer, P. Quinctius, cui tenues opes, nullae facultates, exiguae amicorum copiae sunt, cum adversario gratiosissimo contendat.

[No, it actually appears that I, someone who has not had enough practice nor am so endowed with talent, still could be matched against the most well-spoken advocate, and so Publius Quinctius, who has scant money, no real abilities whatsoever, and the smallest amount of friends, can still contend with the most well-reputed opponent.]