Translation of §§ 27-49

[27] I think I have covered at sufficient length why this war is both inevitable given its kind and perilous given its immense scope. What remains to be covered is that one ought to speak, it seems, about the general to be chosen for this war and to be put in charge of such important matters. Citizens, if only you had such abundance of brave and upright men as to make difficult your deliberation over who above all ought, in your opinion, to be put in charge of such important matters and so great a war! But in fact

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 – given that Gnaeus Pompeius alone has surpassed in excellence not only the fame of those men who live now but also the recorded achievement of past generations – what is it that could make the mind of anyone hesitant in this matter?

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[28] I for my part think that in the perfect general the following four attributes ought to be present: knowledge of military matters, overall excellence, commanding prestige, and luck grounded in divine support. In that case, who has ever been, or should be, more knowledgeable than this man? He departed from school and from the lessons of childhood to his father’s army and the discipline of warfare during a major war against extremely fierce enemies. At the end of his childhood he was a soldier in the army of a perfect general, at the onset of adolescence he was himself a general of a major army. He has fought more often with an external enemy than anyone else has argued with a personal enemy, has conducted more campaigns than the rest have read of, has held more public offices than others have desired. His youth [= In his youth, he] was instructed in knowledge of military matters not through teachings from others but through commands he held himself, not through setbacks in war but victories, not through seasons of military service, but the celebration of triumphs. Finally, what type of war can there be, in which the vicissitudes of our commonwealth have not trained him [or: in which the Fortuna (understood as a positive

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 ‘divine quality’) of the Commonwealth has not given him practice]? The civil war, the wars in Africa, Transalpine Gaul, and Spain, the Slave war and the war at sea [sc. against the pirates], these varied and different types of wars and enemies, which were not only conducted by this one man but also brought to successful conclusion, prove that there is not a thing within the sphere of military experience that could escape this man’s knowledge.

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[29] Besides, to the (innate) excellence of Gnaeus Pompeius what discourse

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 can be found that measures up? What is there that anyone could adduce either worthy of him or novel to you or unfamiliar to anyone? Nor, in fact, are those the only qualities distinctive of a general, which are commonly so considered, namely effort in public affairs, courage in dangers, care in operating, speed in finishing, good judgement in exercising forethought; these are present in this one man to such an extent as they have not been in all the other generals, whom we have either seen or heard of.

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[30] Italy is my witness, which the great conqueror Lucius Sulla himself admitted was freed by the excellence and the assistance of this man. Sicily is my witness, which, when it was surrounded on all sides by many dangers, he rescued not by the horror of war but by the speed of his counsel. Africa is my witness, which, borne down upon by massive enemy forces, overflowed with the blood of the self-same foes. Gaul is my witness, through which – by the slaughter of the Gauls – a route has been opened up into Spain for our legions. Spain is my witness, which most frequently has seen great numbers of the enemy overcome and laid low by this man. Over and over again, Italy is my witness, which, when it was weighed down by a foul and dangerous slave war, sought assistance from him though he was far away; and this war was weakened and diminished in expectation of him [= his return] and crushed and buried upon his arrival.

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[31] Witnesses, as it is, are now indeed all coasts and all foreign ethnicities and nations, finally all seas, both in their totality and, on every single coastline, all bays and ports. Which place on the whole sea either maintained a garrison throughout these years secure enough to keep it safe, or was so secluded that it escaped notice? Did anyone set to sea without exposing himself to the danger of either death or enslavement, seeing that he sailed either in winter or else on a sea teeming with pirates? Who would ever have supposed that so great a war – so shameful, so ancient, so widely spread and fragmented – could be brought to an end either by all generals in a single year or by a single general across an eternity?

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[32] Which province did you keep free from pirates throughout these particular years? Which revenue was safe to you [= which of your revenues was safe]? Which ally did you protect? For whom were you a safeguard with your fleet? How many islands, do you think, have been deserted, how

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16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 many cities of your allies have either been abandoned because of fear or

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 been captured by pirates? But why do I recall matters far away? Once this was the case, it was characteristic of the Roman people, namely to wage war far away from home and to defend, with the bulwarks of empire, the possessions of the allies rather than their own homes. Am I to say that for our allies the sea was off-limits throughout these years, when your own armies never crossed from Brundisium except in the middle of winter? Am

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 I to lament that those were captured who came to you from foreign nations, when legates of the Roman people were ransomed? Am I to say that the sea was unsafe for merchants, when twelve axes fell into the power of the pirates?

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[33] Am I to mention that Cnidus or Colophon or Samos, cities of greatest renown, and countless others, were captured, given that you know that your harbours and those harbours, from which you take your life and breath, were under the control of the pirates? Do you really not know that the harbour of Caieta, crowded and crammed full of ships, was plundered by pirates even though a praetor was watching? That the children of that very praetor, who had previously waged war against the pirates, were snatched by the pirates from Misenum? Why am I to lament the set-back in Ostia and that blot and disgrace of the republic when, almost with you witnessing it, that fleet of which a consul of the Roman people was in charge, was captured and crushed by the pirates? Oh immortal gods! Was the remarkable and divine excellence of one man able to bring so much light to the republic in such a short time, that you, who were recently watching the fleet of the enemy at the mouth of the Tiber, now hear that no ship of the pirates is within the Mediterranean [i.e. this side of the strait of Gibraltar ]?

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[34] And even though you see (sc. for yourselves) with what speed these things were accomplished, it still ought not to be passed over by me in my speech. For who, in their zeal for attending to business or making profit, was ever able to visit so many places, to complete such long journeys in as little time as it took for the force of such a massive military operation to sweep speedily across the sea under the leadership of Gnaeus Pompeius? He landed in Sicily on a sea not yet seasonable for sailing, reconnoitred Africa, came to Sardinia with his fleet, and safeguarded those three suppliers of the commonwealth’s corn with the toughest garrisons and fleets.

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[35] After he had returned from there to Italy – the two Spains and Gallia

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 Cisalpina having been fortified with strongholds and ships, ships having likewise been sent to the coast of the Illyrian Sea, to Achaia, and all of Greece

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 – he furnished both seas bordering on Italy with very large fleets and the toughest strongholds; he himself then added, on the forty-ninth day after he had departed from Brundisium, all of Cilicia to the empire of the Roman people. All pirates wherever they were, were either captured and killed or handed themselves over to the military command and magisterial power of this one man. The same man did not take away the hope of good terms of surrender from the Cretans, when they sent ambassadors and pleaders after him all the way to Pamphylia, but rather demanded hostages. Thus such a great war, so long drawn-out, so far-flung and widely scattered, a war by which all peoples and nations were oppressed, Pompey prepared for at the end of winter, took on at the beginning of spring, and brought to completion in the middle of summer.

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[36] This, then, is his god-like and unbelievable excellence as general. Well? His other qualities, which I had begun to enumerate a little while ago – how great and how numerous are they! For in the consummate and perfect general not only excellence in waging war ought to be expected; rather, many qualities are assistants and associates of this his most conspicuous excellence. First, of what outstanding integrity generals must be! Further, of what outstanding moderation in every walk of life! Of what outstanding trustworthiness, outstanding ease in interpersonal relations, outstanding talent, outstanding human kindness! Let us hence consider these briefly, of what kind they are in Gnaeus Pompeius: all qualities are present to the highest degree, citizens; they can, however, be more easily discerned and appreciated through a comparison with others than in and of themselves.

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[37] Whom can we believe to be a general of any esteem, in whose army the offices of the centurion are sold and have been sold? What [can we believe] a person of this kind to think about the commonwealth [that is] grand and edifying, who either, out of desire for a province, shared out among the magistrates the money that had been issued from the treasury to conduct a campaign or, out of greed, left it at interest in Rome? Your groans indicate, citizens, that you seem to recognize those who have done these things. For my part, I mention no-one by name. Hence nobody will be able to be angry with me unless he is willing to own up about himself beforehand. Who

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33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 0 does not know how great the disasters are that our armies bring along

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 wherever they go because of this greed of our generals?

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[38] Recall what marches in recent years our generals undertook in Italy through the fields and townships of Roman citizens! Then you will decide more easily on what you think is happening among foreign peoples. Do you believe that in recent years more cities were destroyed through the armed violence of your soldiers or more allied communities through their winter quarters? For a general, who does not control himself, is unable to control an army and someone who does not wish others to be strict judges of himself, is unable to be strict in passing judgment.

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[39] In these circumstances are we surprised that this man so greatly surpasses all the others, whose legions [= given that his legions] have arrived in Asia in such a way that not only no hand, but not even a footstep, of so great an army is said to have harmed anyone peaceful? In addition, oral reports and letters announce on a daily basis how the soldiers pass the winter: not only is no violence inflicted on anybody to expend money on behalf of a soldier, but no-one is allowed to do so even if he wishes. For our ancestors wanted the houses of our allies and friends to be a refuge from the winter, not a refuge for greed.

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[40] Come, consider what moderation he displays in other matters! From where, do you think, has come such surpassing speed and such unbelievable rapidity of motion? Not the exceptional strength of his oarsmen or some unheard-of art of navigation or some novel winds have borne him into the farthest lands; rather, those matters that are wont to delay the others did not hinder his progress: no greed diverted him from his planned path to any plunder; no lust to pleasure, no charming location to its enjoyment, no renown of a city to sight-seeing, and, finally, not even toil to rest. Moreover, the pictures and paintings and other adornments of Greek towns that others believe ought to be carried off, he thought that they ought not to be even looked at by him.

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[41] And so now everyone in these locations regards Gnaeus Pompeius as someone not sent from this city, but descended from heaven. Now they finally start to believe that Roman men once had this (kind of) self-control,

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45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 something which by now was beginning to seem to foreign nations

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 unbelievable and wrongly handed down to memory. Now the lustre of your empire begins to bring light to these peoples. Now they understand that it was not without reason that at a time when we had magistrates of such moderation, their ancestors preferred to serve the Roman people rather than to rule over others. Moreover, approaches to him by private individuals are said to be so easy, complaints about the wrongs suffered from others so freely received that he who outdoes the leading citizens in dignity seems equal in affability to the humblest.

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[42] Besides, how strong he is in political wisdom, how strong in the weight and eloquence of his oratory, in which there is itself a certain dignity characteristic of a general, this, citizens, you have often come to know in this very place. How great indeed do you think his trustworthiness is reckoned (to be) among the allies, which all of his enemies of every type have judged utterly inviolable? He is of such human kindness that it is difficult to say whether the enemy feared his martial prowess when fighting more than they esteemed his gentleness once defeated. And will anyone doubt that such a great war should be given over to this man, who seems, by some divine plan, to have been born to end all wars in our time?

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[43] And inasmuch as authority too is of great importance in waging war and in a military command, surely no-one doubts that in this matter that very same general is supremely capable? Who does not know that what the enemy, what the allies think of our general is greatly of relevance to waging war since we know that human beings are moved by belief and hearsay no less than by any specific reason in matters of such importance that they either despise or fear, either hate or love? Which name, then, has ever been more famous in the whole wide world? Whose deeds comparable? About which man have you passed such weighty and such glorious judgements, which is the greatest source of authority?

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[44] Or do you really believe that any coast anywhere is so deserted that news of that day did not reach it, when the entire Roman people, with the forum full to bursting and all the temples from which this place here can be seen having been filled, demanded for itself Pompey alone as general for a war of shared concern to all peoples? Thus, to say no more or to strengthen my case with examples of others as to how much authority matters in war,

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55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 let examples of all extraordinary deeds be taken from [the career of] that

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 self-same Gnaeus Pompeius. And on the day he was put in charge by you of the war against the pirates as general, such a low price for corn suddenly followed after the most severe shortage and sky-high prices for the corn- supply because of the expectation raised by, and the name of, one single individual as prolonged peace coupled with the greatest fertility of the soil could hardly have achieved.

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[45] Now, after the disaster in Pontus had happened, as a consequence of that battle, of which against my will I reminded you a little earlier, when our allies were in a state of panic, when the power and spirits of our enemies had grown, and the province did not have a sufficiently strong safeguard, you would have lost Asia, citizens, if the fortune of the Roman people had not providentially brought Gnaeus Pompeius at that critical moment in time into those regions. His arrival checked Mithridates, puffed up by his unusual victory, and slowed down Tigranes, who was threatening Asia with a large number of troops. And will anyone doubt what he will accomplish by his excellence, who has accomplished so much by his authoritative prestige? Or how easily he will preserve allies and revenues with a command and an army, who has defended them by his mere name and reputation?

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[46] Come now: that matter reveals the great prestige of this same individual among the enemies of the Roman people, namely that from locations so far away and so far apart they all surrendered themselves in so short a time to this man alone; that legates from the commonwealth of the Cretans, even though there was a general and an army of ours on their island, came almost to the ends of the earth to Gnaeus Pompeius and said that all the civic communities of the Cretans were willing to surrender themselves to him. And again: did not that Mithridates himself send an ambassador all the way to Spain to the same Gnaeus Pompeius? Pompeius always considered him an ambassador; those to whom it was irritating that [the man] had been sent to him [sc. Pompeius] especially, preferred him to be considered a spy rather than an ambassador. Hence you can now establish, citizens, how much you think that this commanding prestige, which has in the meantime been further enhanced by many deeds and by your own magnificent judgements, will have weight with those kings, how much it will have weight with foreign peoples.

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[47] What remains is for me to say a few apprehensive words about good

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 fortune, which no-one can vouch for concerning himself, but which we may recall and record concerning someone else, in the same way as is fitting for mortals to speak about the power of the gods. For I am of the opinion that commands were rather frequently assigned, and armies entrusted to Maximus, Marcellus, Scipio, Marius and the rest of the outstanding generals not only because of their excellence, but also because of their good fortune. For undoubtedly, a certain good fortune was by divine agency attached to certain most excellent men for distinction and fame and the performance of great deeds. But about the good fortune of this man here, with whom we are concerned now, I shall restrain my discourse, so that I will not claim fortune to be in his power, but that I seem to recall events in the past and am hopeful about those still to come, with the view to avoiding that my speech seem odious or displeasing to the gods.

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[48] Therefore I shall not announce what deeds he carried out both at home and abroad, on land and on sea, and with what good fortune, so that not only the citizens always concurred with his plans, the allies complied with them, and the enemies obeyed them, but even the winds and storms supported them. I shall only mention most briefly this, that no-one has ever been so arrogant as to dare to wish privately successful deeds of such frequency and scale from the immortal gods as the immortal gods have granted to Pompey. You should wish and pray, as you do, that he retains this forever as a personal possession, citizens, both on account of the common good and the empire and because of the man himself.

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[49] Why, then, given that the war is so essential that it cannot be ignored, so significant, that it ought to be waged with the greatest care, and given that you can put a general in charge of it in whom there is outstanding knowledge of warfare, nonpareil excellence, the brightest prestige, and exceptional good fortune, do you hesitate, citizens, to direct this magnificent boon, which was offered and given to you by the immortal gods, towards the preservation and enhancement of the commonwealth?

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