Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1

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Author: Pliny the Younger

1.XXIII.
TO POMPEIUS FALCO.

You ask me whether I think you ought to practise in the courts while you are tribune. The answer entirely depends on the conception you have of the tribuneship, whether you think it is a mere empty honour, a name with no real dignity, or an office of the highest sanctity, and one that no one, not even the holder himself, ought to slight in the least degree. When I was tribune, I may have been wrong for thinking that I was somebody, but I acted as if I were, and I abstained from practising in the courts. In the first place, I thought it below my dignity that I, at whose entrance every one ought to rise and give way, should stand to plead while all others were sitting; or that I, who could impose silence on all and sundry, should be ordered to be silent by a waterclock; that I, whom it was a crime to interrupt, should be subjected even to abuse, and that I should make people think I was a spiritless fellow if I let an insult pass unnoticed, or proud and puffed up if I resented and avenged it. Again, there was this embarrassing thought always before me. Supposing appeal was made to me as tribune either by my client or by the other party to the suit, what should I do? Lend him aid, or keep silence and say not a word, and thus forswear my magistracy and reduce myself to a mere private citizen? Moved by these considerations, I preferred to be at the disposal of all men as a tribune rather than act as an advocate for a few. But, to repeat what I said before, it makes all the difference what conception you happen to have of the office, and what part you essay to play. Providing you carry it through to the end, either will be quite congruous with a man of wisdom. Farewell.

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Chicago: Pliny the Younger, "1.XXIII. To Pompeius Falco.," Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1, ed. Firth, John B. and trans. Mackail, J. W. (John William), 1859-1945 in Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series—Volume 1 (New York: George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892), Original Sources, accessed May 28, 2024, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UU5U142N3K7AIF.

MLA: Pliny the Younger. "1.XXIII. To Pompeius Falco." Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1, edited by Firth, John B., and translated by Mackail, J. W. (John William), 1859-1945, in Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series—Volume 1, New York, George E. Wood, ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, Original Sources. 28 May. 2024. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UU5U142N3K7AIF.

Harvard: Pliny the Younger, '1.XXIII. To Pompeius Falco.' in Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series— Volume 1, ed. and trans. . cited in ""Death-bed"" edition, 1892, Letters of the Younger Pliny, First Series—Volume 1, George E. Wood, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 28 May 2024, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4UU5U142N3K7AIF.