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Cicero, Philippic 2, 44–50, 78–92, 100–119

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Ingo Gildenhard

Commentary

§ 92: Selling the Empire

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Excerpt

Cicero continues to insist on his clairvoyant pessimism, by which he sets himself apart from peers more susceptible to the allure of a shortterm reconciliation. While others at the time hailed the compromise reached between Caesarians and conspirators back in March as a re-establishment of the res publica, he remained highly skeptical of the prospects for a lasting settlement while Antony remained at the helm. Subsequent events, he argues, proved him right. It did not take Antony long to abuse his privileged access to the state papers of Caesar, which afforded him the opportunity to ‘discover’ (a.k.a. invent) new edicts as it suited him. In this paragraph, Cicero lambasts Antony for selling off rights and privileges (such as grants of citizenship and immunity from taxation) to non-Romans for personal gain, under the cover of executing Caesar’s will but using forged documents for the purpose.

Constituta res publica videbatur aliis, mihi vero nullo modo, qui omnia te gubernant...

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