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us. 314.] MODESTUS PREFECT or THE Pnmonlcm. 553
his constancy and resolution to preserve his agreement with us, by many noble and gallant actions.
7. But subsequently he died in the country of the Franks, which he had invaded and ravaged in a most destructive manner, till at last he was cut otf by the manoeuvres of Mellobaudes, the warlike king of that nation, and slain.- After the treaty had thus been solemnly ratified, Valentinian retired into winter quarters, at 'l.‘reves. '
§ 1. Times were the events which took place in Gaul and the northern countries. But in the east, while all our foreign affairs were quiet, great domestic evils were .increasing in consequence of the conduct of the friends and relations of Valens, who had more regard to expediency than honesty; for they laboured with the utmost diligence to bring about the recall from his post a judge of rigid prohity, who was fond of deciding lawsuits equitably,~out of a fear lest, as in the times of Julian. when Innocence was allowed a fair opportunity cf defending itself, the pride of the powerful nobles, which was accustomed to roam at large with unrestrained licence, might again be broken down.
2. With these and similar objects a great number of persons conspired together, being led by Modestus, the prefect of the przetorium, who was a complete slave to the wishes of the emperor’s eunuchs, and who, under a specious countenance, concealed a rough disposition which had never been polished by any study of ancient virtue or literature, and who was continually asserting that to look into the minute details of private actions was beneath the dignity of the emperor. lie thinking, as he said, that the examination of such matters had been imposed on the nobles to lower their dignity, abstained from all such matters himself, and opened the doors to plunder; which doors are now daily more and more opened by the de-' pravity of the judges and advocates, who are all of the same mind, and who sell the interests of the poor to the military commanders, or the persons of influence within
the palace, by which conduct they themselves have gained riches and high rank. 3. This profession of forensic oratory the wisdom of Plato defines to be troAvrtkäc Puopiov efèw Aov, “the shadow of a fraction of the art of government,” or a fourth part of the art of flattery. But Epicurus calls it kakorexvia, reckoning it among the wicked arts. Tisias, who has Gorgias of Leontinum on his side, calls the orator an artist of persuasion. 4. And while such has been the opinion formed of this art by the ancients, the craft of some of the Eastern people has put it forward so as to make it an object of hatred to good men, on which account an orator it is sometimes restricted to a limited time for speaking. Therefore, after saying a few words about its unworthy character, as I found by experience while in those countries, I will return to my original subject. 5. The tribunals, in former times, when good taste prevailed, were greatly adorned by our advocates, when orators of spirited eloquence—laborious and accomplished scholars—shone pre-eminent in genius, honesty, fluency, and every kind of embellishment of language. As Demosthenes, who, as we learn from the Athenian records, whenever he was going to speak, drew together a vast concourse of people from the whole of Greece, who assembled for the sake of hearing him; and Callistratus, who, when summing up his noble pleading on the subject of Oropus in Euboea, produced such an impression that that same Demosthenes quitted the academy, at the time when Plato was at its head, to become his follower. And Hyperides, and AEschines, and Andocides, and Dinarchus, and Antiphon the Rhamnusian, who is the first man spoken of in ancient history as having received a fee for pleading a cause. 6. And similarly among the Romans, the Rutilii, and Galbae, and Scauri, men of eminent reputation for purity of life and manners, and for frugality; and in the succeeding generations, many men of censorian and consular rank, and even many who had celebrated triumphs, such
* As at Athens, where the orators were only allowed to speak as long as an hour-glass, filled with water, was running down.
as the Crassi, the Antonii, the Philippi, the Scaevolae,
commendation. In fact, the latter appears to me to do the most harm, it being worse to corrupt a judge by a speech than by a bribe, inasmuch as no one can corrupt a wise man with a bribe, though it is possible that he may with eloquence. 11. There is a second class of those men who, professing the science of the law, especially the interpretation of conflicting and obsolete statutes, as if they had a bridle placed in their mouths, keep a resolute silence, in which they rather resemble their shadows than themselves. These, like those men who cast nativities or interpret the oracles of the sibyl, compose their countenances to a sort of gravity, and then make money of their supine drowsineSS. 12. And that they may appear to have a more profound knowledge of the laws, they speak of Trebatius, and Cascellius, and Alfenus, and of the laws of the Aurunci and Sicani, which have long become obsolete, and have been buried ages ago with the mother of Evander. And if you should pretend to have deliberately murdered your mother, they will promise you that there are many cases recorded in abstruse works which will secure your acquittal, if you are rich enough to pay for it. 13. There is a third class of these men, who, to arrive at distinction in a turbulent profession, sharpen their mercenary mouths to mystify the truth, and by prostituting their countenances and their vile barking, work their way with the public. These men, whenever the judge is embarrassed and perplexed, entangle the matter before him with further difficulties, and take pains to prevent any arrangement, carefully involving every suit in knotty subtleties. When these courts, however, go on rightly, they are temples of equity; but when they are perverted they are hidden and treacherous pitfalls, and if any person falls into them, he will not escape till after many years have elapsed, and till he himself has been sucked dry to his very marrow. 14. There is a fourth and last class, impudent, saucy, and ignorant, consisting of those men who, having left
* All these men are spoken of by Horace as distinguished lawyers in his time.
A.2.374.] RoMAN LAwYERs CHARACTERIZED. 557
school too early, run about the corners of cities, giving more time to farces than to the study of actions and defences, wearing out the doors of the rich, aid hunting for the luxuries of banquets and rich food. 15. And when they have given themselves up to
gains, and to the task of hunting for money by every .
means, they incite men, on any small pretence whats
ever, to go to law; and if they are permitted to defend: a cause, which but seldom happens, it is not till they are
before the judge, while the pleadings are being recited, that they begin to inquire into the cause of the client, or even into his name; and then they so overflow with a heap of unarranged phrases and circumlocutions, that from the noise and jabber of the vile medley you would fancy you were listening to Thersites. 16. But when it happens that they have no single allegation they can establish, they then resort to an unbridled licence of abuse; for which conduct they are continually brought to trial themselves, and convicted, when they have poured ceaseless abuse upon people of honour; and some of these men are so ignorant that they do not appear ever to have read any books. 17. And if in a company of learned men the name of any ancient author is ever mentioned, they fancy it to be some foreign name of a fish or other eatable. And if any stranger asks (we will say) for Marcianus, as one with whom he is as yet unacquainted, they all at once pretend that their name is Marcianus. 18. Nor do they pay the slightest attention to what is right; but as if they had been sold to and become the property of Avarice, they know nothing but a boundless licence in asking. And if they catch any one in their toils, they entangle him in a thousand meshes, pretending sickness by way of protracting the consultations. And to produce an useless recital of some well-known law, they prepare seven costly methods of introducing it, thus weaving infinite complications and delays. 19. And when at last days and months and years have been passed in these proceedings, and the parties to the suit are exhausted, and the whole matter in dispute is worn out with age, then these men, as if they were the very heads of their profession, often introduce sham