Cicero, Pro Murena 70: At sectabantur multi

by Tom Gardner

At sectabantur multi. Doce mercede; concedam esse crimen. Hoc quidem remoto quid reprendis? ‘Quid opus est’ inquit ‘sectatoribus?’ A me tu id quaeris, quid opus sit eo quo semper usi sumus? Homines tenues unum habent in nostrum ordinem aut promerendi aut referendi benefici locum, hanc in nostris petitionibus operam atque adsectationem. Neque enim fieri potest neque postulandum est a nobis aut ab equitibus Romanis ut suos necessarios candidatos adsectentur totos dies; a quibus si domus nostra celebratur, si interdum ad forum deducimur, si uno basilicae spatio honestamur, diligenter observari videmur et coli; tenuiorum amicorum et non occupatorum est ista adsiduitas, quorum copia bonis viris et beneficis deesse non solet.

“But many people were following him around,” you say. Prove that they were hired, and I will admit that it is a crime. Aside from that, what are you grasping at? “What need is there for followers,” you ask. Are you asking me why he needs something we have always made use of? Men of low rank have only one opportunity by which to earn favours amongst men of our station, or repay our services: namely, this close attendance and effort in our electioneering. For it is neither possible, nor something to be requested by us or the equites, that they follow their patron candidates for whole days at a time. If they gather at our house, if we are sometimes escorted to the forum, if we are dignified by them attending for the distance of one basilica, then we seem to have been respected and honoured faithfully. Our lesser friends provide this constant attendance. They do not need to deal with official business and they are not accustomed to lacking good gentlemen and their favours.