And then --what I omitted-- there are things which you admit you don't know, yet you charge me with
these very things as if you do know! You claim that I had certain items wrapped in a napkin at Pontianus'
household shrine. You admit that you don't know exactly what (or what sorts of things) these hidden objects
were, and also that no one saw them. But still you insist that they were instruments of magic. Let no one flatter
you, Aemilianus. There is no cleverness in making the accusation, not even impudence. Don't even think it. What
then? The unhappy madness of a bitter soul and the miserable insanity of raw old age. With almost these exact
words, you brought this charge before so earnest and keen a judge:
Quin etiam -- quod praeterii -- sunt quae fatearis nescire, et eadem rursus, quasi scias,
criminari[s]. ais enim me habuisse quaedam sudariolo inuoluta apud lares Pontiani. ea
inuoluta quae et cuius modi fuerint, nescisse te confiteris, neque praeterea quemquam esse
qui uiderit; tamen illa contendis instrumenta magiae fuisse. nemo tibi blandiatur, Aemiliane:
non est in accusando uersutia ac ne impudentia quidem, ne tu arbitreris. quid igitur? furor
infelix acerbi animi et misera insania crudae senectutis. his enim paene uerbis cum tam
graui et perspicaci iudice egisti:
"Apuleius kept some things wrapped in a napkin at Pontianus's household shrine. I do not know what they were,
I therefore insist that they were magic charms. So believe what I say, because I say what I do not know."
'habuit Apuleius quaepiam linteolo inuoluta apud lares
Pontiani. haec quoniam ignoro quae fuerint, iccirco magica fuisse contendo. crede igitur
mihi quod dico, quia id dico quod nescio.'
What beautiful arguments, ones that clearly disprove the charge! "It was this, since I don't know what it was."
Only you have been found to know exactly what you do not know, Aemilianus. You have surpassed all others in
stupidity by far, since the most diligent and careful philosophers say that we must not even be confident about
what we see. But you are actually confident about what you have never seen or heard.
o pulchra argumenta et aperte crimen
reuincentia. 'hoc fuit, quoniam quid fuerit ignoro.' solus repertus es, Aemiliane, qui scias
etiam illa quae nescis; tantum super omnis stultitia euectus es, quippe qui sollertissimi et
acerrimi philosophorum ne is quidem confidendum esse aiunt quae uidemus, at tu de illis
quoque adfirmas, quae neque conspexisti umquam neque audisti.
If Pontianus were alive and you questioned him about what was in that wrapping, he would answer that he didn't
know. That freedman -- over there -- who has the keys to the place to this day and stands by you, says that he
never looked into it, although as a librarian of the books stored there he opened and closed it almost daily. Often
with me, even more often alone, he entered and saw the napkin placed on the table with no seal, no binding.
Certainly, why not? Magic charms were hidden in it! I guarded it rather carelessly, in fact, I casually left it out to
be scanned freely and looked into and, if it were allowed, taken away. I left it under someone else's protection,
entrusted it to another's judgment. So what do you want us to believe about you in these circumstances? That
what Pontianus, who lived with me in inseparable companionship, did not know, YOU know, though I've never
seen you except in front of the tribunal? Or that what the continually present freedman had every opportunity to
look into, what this freedman never saw, that YOU who never had access to it saw it? Let's even assume that
what you did not see turned out exactly as you say: all the same, you idiot, if today you had acquired that
handkerchief, no matter what evidence you brought forth from it, I would still deny any magic.
Pontianus si uiueret
atque eum interrogares, quae fuerint in illo inuolucro, nescire se responderet. libertus
eccille, qui clauis eius loci in hodiernum habet et a uobis stat, numquam se ait inspexisse,
quanquam ipse aperiret utpote promus librorum, qui illic erant conditi, paene cotidie et
clauderet, saepe nobiscum, multo saepius solus intraret, linteum in mensa positum cerneret
sine ullo sigillo, sine uinculo. quidni enim? magicae res in eo occultabantur: eo neglegentius
adseruabam, sed enim libere scrutandum et inspiciendum, si liberet, etiam auferendum
temere exponebam, alienae custodiae commendabam, alieno arbitrio permittebam. quid
igitur inpraesentiarum uis tibi credi? quodne Pontianus nescierit, qui indiuiduo contubernio
mecum uixit, id te scire, quem numquam uiderim nisi pro tribunali? an quod libertus
adsiduus, cui omnis facultas inspiciendi fuit, quod is libertus non uiderit, te qui numquam eo
accesseris uidisse? denique ut, quod non uidisti, id tale fuerit, quale dicis: atqui, stulte, si
hodie illud sudariolum tu intercepisses, quicquid ex eo promeres, ego magicum negarem.
 I give you permission: contrive what you will, invent, think up what could seem magical. But I would still
dispute it with you. I could say it was planted there or taken as a remedy or kept for a sacred rite or ordered in a
dream. There are a thousand other ways I could truthfully refute you in an ordinary manner and with the most
basic habits of observation. Now you claim that this uncertain, unknown thing condemns me based on empty
suspicion -- a thing which would not harm me in the least, seized and presented before a good judge.
Tibi adeo permitto, finge quiduis, [r]eminiscere, excogita, quod possit magicum uideri:
tamen de eo tecum decertarem. aut ego subiectum dicerem aut remedio acceptum aut
sacro traditum aut somnio imperatum; mille alia sunt quibus possem more communi et
uulgatissima obseruationum consuetudine uere refutare. nunc id postulas, ut, quod
deprehensum et detentum tamen nihil me apud bonum iudicem laederet, id inani suspicione
incertum et incognitum condemnet.
I have no idea whether you'll say again, as you tend to, "What was it, then? What did you put way into the shrine
covered with a napkin?" Is that what we can expect, Aemilianus? You make your accusations in such a way that
you acquire all your information by interrogating the defendant while you offer nothing you know yourself.
"WHY do you seek fish?
WHY did you examine a sick woman?
WHAT did you have in the handkerchief?"
Did you come to accuse me or interrogate me? If to accuse, provide your own proof of what you claim. If to
question, do not prejudge what happened since it is because you do not know that you must ask. With this
procedure, everyone will prepare cases if a person indicting someone doesn't need to prove a charge, but on the
contrary, has every opportunity for interrogation. In fact, there will be trouble over magic for all, regardless of
what they actually did.
haud sciam an rursus, ut soles, dicas: 'quid ergo illud
fuit, quod linteo tectum apud lares potissimum deposuisti?' itane est, Aemiliane? sic
accusas, ut omnia a reo percontere, nihil ipse adferas cognitum. 'quam ob rem piscis
quaeris?' 'cur aegram mulierem inspexisti?' 'quid in sudario habuisti?' utrum tu accusatum
an interrogatum uenisti? si accusatum, tute argue quae dicis, si interrogatum, noli
praeiudicare, quid fuerit, quod ideo te necesse est interrogare, quia nescis. ceterum hoc
quidem pacto omnes homines rei constituentur, si ei, qui nomen cuiuspiam detulerit, nulla
necessitas sit probandi, omnis contra facultas percontandi. quippe omnibus sic, ut forte
negotium magiae facessitur, quicquid omnino egerint obicietur.
You left your written vow on the thigh of some statue.
=>You're a magician, why else would you do it?
uotum in alicuius statuae
femore signasti: igitur magus es; aut cur signasti?
You offered silent prayers to the gods at the temple.
=>You're a magician, what else would you ask for?
tacitas preces in templo deis allegasti:
igitur magus es; aut quid optasti?
Reverse it: you offered no prayers at the temple.
=>You're a magician, why wouldn't you ask the gods?
contra: nihil in templo precatus es: igitur magus es; aut
cur deos non rogasti?
Similarly, if you left some gift, if you sacrificed, if you used some herb. Even if I wanted to, the day is not long
enough for me to pursue every possible method a trickster could manipulate. In particular, no matter what is
stored, sealed, or closed up at home and kept, everything will by the same logic be called magic or brought from
the supply room to the forum and into court.
similiter, si posueris donum aliquod, si sacrificaueris, si uerbenam
sumpseris. dies me deficiet, si omnia uelim persequi, quorum rationem similiter calumniator
flagitabit. praesertim quod conditum cumque, quod obsignatum, quod inclusum domi
adseruatur, id omne eodem argumento magicum dicetur aut e cella promptaria in forum
atque in iudicium proferetur.
 Maximus, the quantity and type of such things, how broad a field is opened to false charges by this path of
Aemilianus, and how much sweat is poured by innocents over this one handkerchief, all this and more I could
discuss, but I'll do what I set out to do. Even though it isn't necessary, I'll testify and respond to Aemilianus'
questions. You ask, Aemilianus, what I had in the napkin. Now, I could deny that any napkin of mine was ever
placed in Pontianus' library. If at most I grant that it was there, I could still claim that nothing was wrapped in it.
If I claimed that, no testimony or argument would refute me, since no one touched it and a lone freedman, as you
say, saw it. STILL, I grant that it was stuffed. Fine, believe that if you wish, just as Ulysses' men believed they'd
found a treasure when they cut open that very windy bag. Would you like me to say what sort of stuff I entrusted
all bundled up in a napkin to Pontianus' shrine? I'll humor you.
Haec quanta sint et cuiusce modi, Maxime, quantusque campus calumniis hoc Aemiliani
tramite aperiatur, quantique sudores innocentibus hoc uno sudariolo adferantur, possum
equidem pluribus disputare, sed faciam quod institui: etiam quod non necesse est
confitebor et interrogatus ab Aemiliano respondebo. interrogas, Aemiliane, quid in sudario
habuerim. at ego quanquam omnino positum ullum sudarium meum in bybliotheca Pontiani
possim negare ac, [si] maxime fuisse concedam, tamen habeam dicere nihil in eo inuolutum
fuisse, -- quae si dicam, neque testimonio aliquo neque argumento reuincar, nemo est enim
qui attigerit, unus libertus, ut ais, qui uiderit -- tamen, inquam, per me licet fuerit
refertissimum. sic enim, si uis, arbitrare, ut olim Vlixi socii thesaurum repperisse arbitrati
sunt, cum utrem uentosissimum manticularentur. uin dicam, cuius modi illas res in sudario
obuolutas laribus Pontiani commendarim? mos tibi geretur.
I participated in several sacred rites in Greece. I keep certain tokens and objects of these rites which the priests
gave to me. I claim nothing unusual, nothing unknown. Even you initiates of the one father Liber who are here
know what you keep hidden at home and honor silently, away from all non-initiates. Certainly I, as I was saying,
have learned complex rituals, many rites, and various ceremonies out of an eagerness for truth and service to the
gods. And I didn't invent this for the occasion. It has been almost three years since the first days when I was
lecturing at venerable Oea about the grandeur of Asclepius, and I recounted these same things about myself and
counted the sacred rites I knew. This lecture is well known, widely read, and has passed through everyone's
hands not so much because of my eloquence but because the mention of Asclepius recommended it to the
religious Oeans. Someone recite it, if anyone happens to remember the beginning of the passage
Sacrorum pleraque initia in Graecia participaui. eorum quaedam signa et monumenta
tradita mihi a sacerdotibus sedulo conseruo. nihil insolitum, nihil incognitum dico. uel unius
Liberi patris mystae qui adestis scitis, quid domi conditum celetis et absque omnibus
profanis tacite ueneremini. at ego, ut dixi, multiiuga sacra et plurimos ritus et uarias
cerimonias studio ueri et officio erga deos didici. nec hoc ad tempus compono, sed abhinc
ferme triennium est, cum primis diebus quibus Oeam ueneram p[l]ublice disserens de
Aesculapii maiestate eadem ista prae me tuli et quot sacra nossem percensui. ea disputatio
celebratissima est, uulgo legitur, in omnibus manibus uersatur, non tam facundia mea quam
mentione Aesculapii religiosis Oeensibus commendata. dicite aliquis, si qui forte meminit,
huius loci principium.
**** ********* *** ******* **** ** ** *********
**** ********* *** ******* **** ** ** *********
--do you not hear, Maximus, many quoting it? Yes, look: the book is even offered up. I'll ask for these passages
to be recited, since from your very courteous expression you appear to be an audience that is not annoyed by
audisne, Maxime, multos suggerentis? immo, ecce etiam liber
offertur. recitari ipsa haec iubebo, quoniam ostendis humanissimo uultu auditionem te istam
******* ***** ******* ** ******* ******** *****
*** ******* ***** ** ******** ******** *******
******* ***** ******* ** ******* ******** *****
*** ******* ***** ** ******** ******** *******
 Can anyone who has any recollection of religious practice really be astonished at seeing a man who has
knowledge of so many mysteries of the gods guard in his home certain amulets of these sacred rites and wrap
them in a linen cloth, which is the purest covering for divine things? Of course, you know that Orpheus and
Pythagoras consider wool, the refuse stripped away from sheep, the most sluggish of beasts, unfit for clothing.
But an immaculate batch of flax arises from the earth among the best fruits and is used by the most pious priests
in Egypt not only for covering and for clothing, but also for concealing sacred objects.
Etiamne cuiquam mirum uideri potest, cui sit ulla memoria religionis, hominem tot mysteriis
deum conscium quaedam sacrorum crepundia domi adseruare atque ea lineo texto
inuoluere, quod purissimum est rebus diuinis uelamentum? quippe lana, segnissimi corporis
excrementum, pecori detracta iam inde Orphei et Pythagorae scitis profanus uestitus est;
sed enim mundissima lini seges inter optumas fruges terra exorta non modo indutui et
amictui sanctissimis Aegyptiorum sacerdotibus, sed opertui quoque rebus sacris usurpatur.
Still I know some people, and prominent among them that Aemilianus, who think they are witty when they make
fun of religion. For, as I hear from some people in Oea who know him, he has never up to this point in his life
offered a prayer to any god, he hasn't visited any temple, and if he should happen to pass some consecrated
place, he thinks it's a crime to kiss his hand out of reverence. In addition, the man has never shared any of the
first harvest or the pick of the vine or flock with the gods of the countryside who nourish and clothe him, there is
no cleansing shrine in his villa, no sacred grove or consecrated place. Why should I speak of sacred groves and
shrines? Those who have been on his property say they haven't seen a single anointed stone or wreathed bough
there. So he has two nicknames: Charon, as I already mentioned, on account of the cruelty of his face and his
soul, and the other, which he ackowledges readily on account of his hatred of the gods, is Mezentius.
atque ego scio nonnullos et cum primis Aemilianum istum facetiae sibi habere res diuinas
deridere. nam, ut audio partim Oe[e]nsium qui istum nouere, nulli deo ad hoc aeui
supplicauit, nullum templum frequentauit, si fanum aliquod praetereat, nefas habet adorandi
gratia[m] manum labris admouere. iste uero nec dis rurationis, qui eum pascunt ac uestiunt,
segetis ullas aut uitis aut gregis primitias impertit; nullum in uilla eius delubrum situm, nullus
locus aut lucus consecratus. ecquid ego de luco et delubro loquor? negant uidisse se qui
fuere unum saltem in finibus eius aut lapidem unctum aut ramum coronatum. igitur
adgnomenta ei duo indita: Charon, ut iam dixi, ob oris et animi diritatem, sed alterum,
quod libentius audit, ob deorum contemptum, Mezentius.
So it's easy for me to understand why the catalog of so many mysteries seems like nonsense to him. Perhaps
because of his defiance of the gods he does not believe my testimony to be true, that in the most pious manner I
keep watch over the emblems and tokens of so many sacred rites. But I couldn't care less what Mezentius thinks
about me. To others, however, I declare publicly in the clearest voice: if someone happens to be here who has
participated with me in these same solemn ceremonies, give me some sign, and you may hear what I am
guarding. For no threat will ever force me to announce to the uninitiated what I have received under a vow of
quapropter facile intellego hasce
ei tot initiorum enumerationes nugas uideri, et fors anne ob hanc diuini contumaciam non
inducat animum uerum esse quod dixi, me sanctissime tot sacrorum signa et memoracula
custodire. sed ego, quid de me Mezentius sentiat, manum non uorterim, ceteris autem
clarissima uoce profiteor: si qui forte adest eorundem sollemnium mihi particeps, signum
dato, et audias licet quae ego adseruem. nam equidem nullo umquam periculo compellar,
quae reticenda accepi, haec ad profanos enuntiare.
 So I think, Maximus, that I appear to have satisfied even the most prejudiced people and, as relates to the
handkerchief, wiped away every blemish of the crime. Now I may safely pass from the suspicions of Aemilianus
to that testimony of Crassus, which they read afterwards as if it were of a most serious nature. You heard from
the deposition the testimony of a certain gourmand and desperate glutton Junius Crassus, that in his house I
performed sacred rites at night with my friend Appius Quintianus, who was paying for lodging there. And
Crassus, although he was actually in Alexandria at that time, still affirmed that he had discovered this from the
smoke of a torch and the feathers of a bird.
Vt puto, Maxime, satis uideor cuiuis uel iniquissimo animum explesse et, quod ad
sudarium pertineat, omnem criminis maculam detersisse, ac bono iam periculo ad
testimonium illud Crassi, quod post ista quasi grauissimum legerunt, a suspicionibus
Aemiliani transcensurus. testimonium ex libello legi audisti gumiae cuiusdam et desperati
lurconis Iuni Crassi, me in eius domo nocturna sacra cum Appio Quintiano amico meo
factitasse, qui ibi mercede deuersabatur. idque se ait Crassus, quamquam in eo tempore
uel Alexandreae fuerit, tamen taedae fumo et auium plumis comperisse.
Obviously, as he was engaging in drinking parties at Alexandria (since this is the same Crassus who is not
unwilling to slink into brothels in daylight), he lay in wait like a bird hunter in some stench-filled haunt for the
feathers conveyed by his household gods, and he recognized the smoke of his home rising up from his paternal
rooftop, so far away. If he saw this with his eyes, that gives him even better eyesight than Ulysses, with all his
vows and requests. Ulysses desired in vain for many years to see from the shore smoke rising up from his home:
Crassus, in the few months when he was away, caught sight of this smoke with no toil at all, loitering in some
scilicet eum, cum
Alexandreae symposia obiret -- est enim Crassus iste, qui non inuitus de die in ganeas
conrepat -- , in illo cauponii nidore pinnas de penatibus suis aduectas aucupatum, fumum
domus suae adgnouisse patrio culmine longe exortum. quem si oculis uidit, ultra Vlixi uota
et desideria hic quidem est oculatus; Vlixes fumum terra sua emergentem compluribus
annis e litore prospectans frustra captauit: Crassus in paucis quibus afuit mensibus eundem
fumum sine labore in taberna uinaria sedens conspexit.
But if he actually perceived the smoke of his home with his nose, he has conquered hounds and vultures with his
sharp sense of smell. For what hound, what vulture in the sky above Alexandria could smell anything from within
the borders of Oea? Actually, Crassus is an outstanding glutton and not at all uninformed about every type of
smoke, but because of his passion for drinking, the only thing for which he is recognized, the smell of wine rather
than of smoke would more easily have reached him in Alexandria.
sin uero naribus nidorem
domesticum praesensit, uincit idem sagacitate odorandi canes et uulturios; cui enim cani,
cui uulturio Alexandrini caeli quicquam abusque Oeensium finibus oboleat? est quidem
Crassus iste summus helluo et omnis fumi non imperitus, sed profecto pro studio bibendi,
quo solo censetur, facilius ad eum Alexandria[m] uini aura quam fumi perueniret.
 He realized this would be an unbelievable story, so it's said that he sold that testimony before the second
hour of the day, while fasting and abstaining from drink. So he wrote how he he'd discovered these things: after
he returned from Alexandria, he'd hurried directly to his house, from which Quintianus had already departed.
There, in the courtyard, he'd come upon a heap of birds' feathers, and what's more, the walls were soiled with
soot. He sought an explanation from the slave he left behind in Oea, and the slave had told him about the rites
which Quintianus and I had performed by night.
hoc et ipse incredibile futurum; nam dicitur ante horam diei secundam ieiunus adhuc et
abstemius testimonium istud uendidisse. igitur scripsit haec se ad hunc modum comperisse:
postquam Alexandria reuenerit, domum suam recta contendisse, qua iam Quintianus
migrarat; ibi in uestibulo multas auium pinnas offendisse, praeterea parietes fuligine
deformatos; quaesisse causas ex seruo suo, quem Oeae reliquerit, eumque sibi de meis et
Quintiani nocturnis sacris indicasse.
What a truly fine invention and probable contrivance!
quam uero subtiliter compositum et uerisimiliter
That I, if I wished to do any of this, wouldn't rather have done these things in my own house. That Quintianus,
who supports me, whom I name with the favor of honor and praise because of the very firm friendship that exists
between us, and also because of his eminent wisdom and most polished eloquence, that this Quintianus, if he'd
prepared these birds for dinner or, as they assert, he'd slain them for magical purposes, wouldn't have had a
slave to sweep up the feathers and throw them outside. And furthermore, that there was so much force in the
smoke that the walls turned black, and that Quintianus would have endured this ugliness as long as he occupied
his room. You speak nonsense, Aemilianus, and nothing of what you say is even likely, unless Crassus happened
not to return to his room, but as is his custom proceded straight to the hearth. And what's more, why did
Crassus' slave suppose that the walls had become stained by smoke chiefly at night? From the color of the
smoke? It's obvious that nocturnal smoke is blacker and differs from day-smoke. Why, moreover, did such a
suspicious and attentive slave allow Quintianus to depart before he'd returned the room to its pristine condition?
Why did those feathers wait so long for the return of Crassus, as if they were full of lead? Don't let Crassus
blame his slave: he himself is more likely to have invented these things about the soot and the feathers, since even
while giving testimony, he can't separate himself for an extended period from his kitchen.
commentum me, si quid eius facere uellem, non domi meae potius facturum fuisse,
Quintianum istum, qui mihi assistit, quem ego pro amicitia quae mihi cum eo artissima est
proque eius egregia eruditione et perfectissima eloquentia honoris et laudis gratia nomino,
hunc igitur Quintianum, si quas auis in cena habuisset aut, quod aiunt, magiae causa
interemisset, puerum nullum habuisse, qui pinnas conuerreret et foras abiceret; praeterea
fumi tantam uim fuisse, ut parietes atros redderet, eamque deformitatem, quoad habitauit,
passum in cubiculo suo Quintianum. nihil dicis, Aemiliane, non est ueri simile, nisi forte
Crassus non in cubiculum reuersus perrexit, sed suo more recta ad focum. unde autem
seruus Crassi suspicatus est noctu potissimum parietes fumigatos? an ex fumi colore?
uidelicet fumus nocturnus nigrior est eoque diurno fumo differt. cur autem suspicax seruus
ac tam diligens passus est Quintianum migrare prius quam mundam domum redderet? cur
illae plumae quasi plumbeae tam diu aduentum Crassi manserunt? non insimulet Crassus
seruum suum: ipse haec potius de fuligine et pinnis mentitus est, dum non potest nec in
testimonio dando discedere longius a culina.
 Why then did you read this testimony from a deposition? Where in the world is Crassus himself? Has he
returned to Alexandria out of disgust at his house? Is he cleaning his walls? Or, as is more likely, is the glutton
being attacked by a hangover? For I did catch sight of this man here in Sabratha yesterday, remarkably enough
in the middle of the forum, Aemilianus, belching in your face. Ask your secretary, Maximus, although that man is
better known to innkeepers than to secretaries. Anyway, inquire whether they've seen this Junius Crassus from
Oea; they won't deny it. Let Aemilianus produce for us this most respectable young man on whose testimony he
Cur autem testimonium ex libello legistis? Crassus ipse ubi gentium est? an Alexandriam
taedio domus remeauit? an parietes suos detergit? an, quod uerius est, ex crapula helluo
adtemptatur? nam equidem hic Sabratae cum hesterna die animaduerti satis notabiliter in
medio foro tibi, Aemiliane, obructantem. quaere a nomenclatoribus tuis, Maxime,
quamquam est ille cauponibus quam nomenclatoribus notior, tamen, inquam, interroga, an
hic Iunium Crassum Oeensem uiderint; non negabunt. exhibeat nobis Aemilianus iuuenem
honestissimum, cuius testimonio nititur.
You can see what time of day it is: I say that Crassus has already for some time been snoring drunkenly, or, in
the midst of a second bathing in preparation for an after-dinner drinking bout, is sitting in some bath sweating
profusely a wine-soaked perspiration. He is present with you, Maximus, speaking through a note, only because
he is not so divorced from all shame that if he were to appear before your eyes, he could lie without any
blushing. But perhaps he is not even capable of such a little thing as restraining his drunkenness, so that he could
hope to arrive to this hour in a sober condition. Or, perhaps, it's possible that Aemilianus planned this strategy,
that Crassus not appear before your strict eyes, fearing that you'd disapprove of that brute with his shaved jaw
and the abominable appearance of his face, when you took notice of the young man's head, stripped of its beard
and hair, and his drunken eyes, his swollen eyelids, his open mouth, his slobbering lips, his inharmonious voice,
his trembling hands, his vulgar belching. He long ago consumed his entire inheritance in luxury, and nothing
survives to him from his good parents, except a single house for selling false accusations. Still, he has never
rented it out for a higher price than he has in this testimony; for he sold that drunken lie to this Aemilianus for
3000 sesterces, and no one in Oea is unaware of it.
quid sit diei uides: dico Crassum iam dudum
ebrium stertere, aut secundo lauacro ad repotia cenae obeunda uinulentum sudorem in
balneo desudare. is tecum, Maxime, praesens per libellum loquitur, non quin adeo sit
alienatus omni pudore, ut etiam, sub oculis tuis si foret, sine rubore ullo mentiretur, sed
fortasse nec tantulum potuit ebria[mine] sibi temperare, ut hanc horam sobrie expectaret:
aut potius Aemilianus de consilio fecit, ne eum sub tam seueris oculis tuis constitueret, ne
tu beluam illam uulsis maxillis foedo aspectu de facie improbares, cum animaduertisses
caput iuuenis barba et capillo populatum, madentis oculos, cilia turgentia, rictum [latum],
saliuosa labia, uocem absonam, manuum tremorem, ructus[s]piram[en]. patrimonium
omne iam pridem abligurriuit, nec quicquam ei de bonis paternis superest, nisi una domus
ad calumniam uenditandam, quam tamen numquam carius quam in hoc testimonio locauit;
nam temulentum istud mendacium tribus milibus nummis Aemiliano huic uendidit, idque
Oeae nemini ignoratur.
 We all knew of this even before it happened, and I could've prevented the accusation, if I hadn't thought
that such an idiotic lie would be more prejudicial to Aemilianus, who purchased it in vain, than to me, who
justifiably despised it. I wished Aemilianus to suffer a loss and Crassus to be prostituted by the disgrace of his
testimony. In addition, something not at all concealed was done the day before yesterday in the home of a certain
Rufinus, about whom I will soon speak, as Rufinus himself and Calpurnianus were both acting as intermediaries
and pleaders. Rufinus did it that much more willingly because he was sure that his wife, whose crimes he
knowingly covers up, would bring him a large portion of Crassus' gift. I saw that you, Maximus, through your
wisdom, were also suspicious of their conspiracy and union against me, and even as the deposition was
submitted, you showed contempt on your face for this whole affair. And finally, although they are endowed with
unusual boldness and ill-omened rashness, still, even they didn't try to read out or rely upon any of Crassus'
testimony, when they saw that it smelled like shit. I have recounted my opponents' doings, not because I feared
the threats of feathers or the stain of soot, especially with you as my judge, but so that Crassus would not get off
unpunished for selling crass smoke to Aemilianus, a country hick.
Omnes hoc, antequam fieret, cognouimus, et potui denuntiatione impedire, nisi scirem
mendacium tam stultum potius Aemiliano, qui frustra redimebat, quam mihi, qui merito
contemnebam, obfuturum. uolui et Aemilianum damno adfici et Crassum testimonii sui
dedecore prostitui. ceterum nudiustertius haudquaquam occulta res acta est in Rufini
cuiusdam domo, de quo mox dicam, intercessoribus et deprecatoribus ipso Rufino et
Calpurniano. quod eo libentius Rufinus perfecit, quod erat certus ad uxorem suam, cuius
stupra sciens dissimulat, non minimam partem praemii eius Crassum relaturum. uidi te
quoque, Maxime, coitionem aduersum me et coniurationem eorum pro tua sapientia
suspicatum, simul libellus ille prolatus est, totam rem uultu aspernantem. denique
quamquam sunt [in]solita audacia et importuna impudentia praediti tamen testimonio
Crassi, cuius oboluisse faecem uidebant, -- nec ipsi ausi sunt perlegere nec quicquam eo
niti. uerum ego ista propterea commemoraui, non quod pinnarum formidines et fuliginis
maculam te praesertim iudice timerem, sed ut ne impunitum foret [Crasso], crassum quod
Aemiliano, homini rustico, fumum uendidit.
They mentioned another crime when they read Pudentilla's letter, about the construction of a certain figurine.
They claim I had it prepared from the most carefully chosen wood for the sake of secret, evil black magic, and,
although it is in the foul and disgusting shape of a skeleton, that I still worship it and call it in the Greek language, king. Unless I'm mistaken, I'm pursuing their tracks in order and by seizing every bit of
their false accusations one by one, I'm unraveling them.
Unum etiam crimen ab illis, cum Pudentillae litteras legerent, de cuiusdam sigilli
fabricatione prolatum est, quod me aiunt ad magica maleficia occulta fabrica ligno
exquisitissimo comparasse et, cum sit [s]celeti forma turpe et horribile, tamen impendio
colere et Graeco uocabulo $BASILE/A& nuncupare. nisi fallor, ordine eorum uestigia
persequor et singillatim apprehendens omnem calumniae textum retexo.
How could the construction of the figurine be hidden, as you say, if you know the maker well enough that you
have summoned him here as a witness? The craftsman Cornelius Saturninus is present, a man whose art is
praised among his colleagues and whose character is approved. Under your careful examination a short while
ago, Maximus, he reviewed the entire series of events with the highest honesty and veracity. He said that I, when
I was at his shop, saw many geometric shapes made finely and skillfully from boxwood, and that I was so
attracted by his craftsmanship that I asked him to develop certain devices for me. At the same time I asked him
to carve the image of any god to which I could pray following my own custom, out of any material, as long as it
was wood. So at first he tried to carve it out of boxwood. In the meantime, while I was spending time in the
country, my stepson Sicinius Pontianus, who wanted to do something for me, brought some tablets of ebony I
had requested from Capitolina, a most respectable woman, to Saturninus, and asked him to make the image
from this rarer and more durable material, saying that this gift would be very pleasing to me. So he did this, as the
tablets were available. In this way he was able gradually to cut out a little Mercury of dense thickness from the
Occulta fuisse fabricatio sigilli quod dicitis qui potest, cuius uos adeo artificem non
ignorastis, ut ei, praesto adesset, denuntiaueritis? en adest Cornelius Saturninus artifex, uir
inter suos et arte laudatus et moribus comprobatus, qui tibi, Maxime, paulo ante diligenter
sciscitanti omnem ordinem gestae rei summa cum fide et ueritate percensuit: me, cum apud
eum multas geometricas formas e buxo uidissem subtiliter et adfabre factas, inuitatum eius
artificio quaedam mechanica ut mihi elaborasset petisse, simul et aliquod simulacrum
cuiuscumque uellet dei, cui ex more meo supplicassem, quacumque materia, dummodo
lignea, exculperet. igitur primo buxeam temptasse[t]. interim dum ego ruri ago, Sicinium
Pontianum priuignum meum, qui mihi factum uolebat, impetratos hebeni loculos a muliere
honestissima Capitolina ad se attulisse, ex illa potius materia rariore et durabiliore uti
faceret adhortatum: id munus cum primis mihi gratum fore. secundum ea se fecisse,
proinde ut loculi[s] suppetebant. ita minutatim ex tabellis compacta crassitudine
Mercuriolum expediri potuisse.
 You heard all the things which I am now saying. In addition, when the son of Capitolina, a really decent
youth who's right here, was under examination he said the same things: Pontianus sought the tablets, and then
Pontianus brought the tablets to the craftsman Saturninus. Furthermore, he doesn't deny that Pontianus received
from Saturninus a completed figurine, and that afterwards he gave it to me as a gift. Since all these things were
openly and publicly proven, what, then, remains in which any suspicion of magic lies hidden? On the contrary,
what remains that does not refute your blatant dishonesty? You said that this thing was made secretly, this thing
which Pontianus, a most brilliant member of the equestrian order, sought to have made, which Saturninus, an
important and renowned man among his colleagues, carved publicly while sitting in his workshop, which a most
decorated matron assisted by her gift, and which many of the slaves and friends who visit me knew about before
and after it was made. It causes you no shame to invent the story that I desperately sought out this wood
throughout the whole town, even though you knew I was absent at that time, and even though it has been proven
that I ordered the image to be carved from any type of material.
Haec ut dico omnia audisti. praeterea a filio Capitolinae probissimo adulescente, qui
praesens est, sciscitante te eadem dicta sunt: Pontianum loculos petisse, Pontianum
Saturnino artifici detulisse. etiam illud non negatur, Pontianum a Saturnino perfectum
sigillum recepisse, postea mihi dono dedisse. his omnibus palam atque aperte probatis
quid omnino superest, in quo suspicio aliqua magiae delitescat? immo quid omnino est,
quod uos manifesti mendacii non reuincat? occulte fabricatum esse dixistis quo[d]
Pontianus splendidissimus eques fieri curauit, quod Saturninus uir grauis et probe inter
suos cognitus in taberna sua sedens propalam exculpsit, quod ornatissima matrona munere
suo adiuuit, quod et futurum et factum multi cum seruorum tum amicorum qui ad me
uentitabant scierunt. lignum a me toto oppido et quidem oppido quaesitum non piguit uos
commentiri, quem [quem] afuisse in eo tempore scitis, quem ius[s]isse fieri qualicumque
materia probatum est.
 Your third lie was that it was an emaciated artistic representation of a deathlike cadaver, horrible and like
an evil spirit. But if you knew for certain that this was such a clear sign of magic, why didn't you force me to
exhibit it? So you could lie freely about something which wasn't here? An advantage of a habit of mine, however,
has taken away from you the feasibility of this falsehood. For I have a custom: wherever I go, I carry the image
of some god or another hidden among my books, and on holidays I worship it with incense and unmixed wine
and sometimes with sacrifices. So when I heard a little earlier that it was repeatedly being called a skeleton in an
exceedingly shameless lie, I ordered someone to go in a cart and bring back my little Mercury, which this
Saturninus made for me at Oea. Come now, let them look at it, hold it, examine it. So! Do you see what that
accursed man was calling a skeleton? Do you hear the cry of disapproval from everyone here? Aren't you
ashamed, in the end, of so many false accusations? Is this a skeleton, is this an evil spirit, is this what you were
calling a demon? Is this a magical image, or a normal, ceremonial one?
Tertium mendacium uestrum fuit macilentam uel omnino euisceratam formam diri cadaueris
fabricatam, prorsus horribilem et larualem. quodsi compertum habebatis tam e[n]uidens
signum magiae, cur mihi ut exhiberem non denuntiastis? an ut possetis in rem absentem
libere mentiri? cuius tamen falsi facultas opportunitate quadam meae consuetudinis uobis
adempta est. nam morem mihi habeo, qu[o]quo eam, simulacrum alicuius dei inter libellos
conditum gestare eique diebus festis ture et mero et aliquando uictima[s] supplicare.
dudum ergo cum audire[m] sceletum perquam impudenti mendacio dictitari, iussi, curriculo
iret aliquis et ex hospitio meo Mercuriolum afferret, quem mihi Saturninus iste Oeae
fabricatus est. cedo tu eum, uideant, teneant, considerent. em uobis, quem scele[s]tus ille
sceletum nominabat. auditisne reclamationem omnium qui adsunt? auditisne mendacii uestri
damnationem? non uos tot calumniarum tandem dispudet? hiccine est sceletus, haeccine
est larua, hoccine est quod appellitabatis daemonium? magicumne istud an sollemne et
commune simulacrum est?
I ask you, Maximus, to take it and contemplate it. It is right that a consecrated object be handed over to such
pure and pious hands as yours. See how handsome and full of athletic vigor his face is, how cheerful the face of
the god. See how the down creeps prettily over both of his cheeks; that his hair, curled up on his head, peeks
out under the low shelter of his felt cap. See how charmingly his symmetrical wings project over his forehead,
and, in addition, how jauntily his clothing is drawn around his shoulders. Whoever dares to call this a skeleton
never sees any image of the gods or has forgotten all of them. In short, whoever thinks this is an evil spirit is
accipe quaeso, Maxime, et contemplare; bene tam puris et tam
piis manibus tuis traditur res consecrata. em uide, quam facies eius decora et suci
palaestrici plena sit, quam hilaris dei uultus, ut decenter utrimque lanugo malis deserpat, ut
in capite crispatus capillus sub imo pillei umbraculo appareat, quam lepide super tempora
pares pinnulae emineant, quam autem festiue circa humeros uestis substricta sit. hunc qui
sceletum audet dicere, profecto ille simulacra deorum nulla uidet aut omnia neglegit; hunc
denique qui laruam putat, ipse est laruans.
 But, Aemilianus, for that lie let that same god, the intermediary between the living and the dead, give you the
hatred of the gods of both worlds. May he always heap up before your eyes unavoidable apparitions of the
dead, shades, lemures, ghosts, wandering spirits: all the things that you encounter in the night, all the horrors of
the tomb, all the terrors of the grave, from which, by your age (and most deservedly so), you are not far away.
At tibi, Aemiliane, pro isto mendacio duit deus iste superum et inferum commeator
utrorumque deorum malam gratiam semperque obuias species mortuorum, quidquid
umbrarum est usquam, quidquid lemurum, quidquid manium, quidquid laruarum, oc[c]ulis
tuis oggerat, omnia noctium occursacula, omnia bustorum formidamina, omnia
sepulchrorum terriculamenta, a quibus tamen aeuo et merito haud longe abes[t].
We followers of Plato, on the other hand, know only of the festive and the happy, the serious and the higher and
celestial. As a matter of fact, in its desire to elevate itself, this school also investigated things more sublime than
the sky itself and stood on the outermost surface of the universe. Maximus, who has read carefully in the
Phaedrus concerning "the place above the sky" and "the surface of heaven" knows I am speaking the truth. This same Maximus
understands perfectly, so that I may also respond to you concerning the name, who this god is who was not
named king by me first, but by Plato: all things are related to the lord of all things, and all things exist because
ceterum Platonica familia nihil nouimus nisi festum et laetum et sollemne et superum et caeleste.
quin altitudinis studio secta ista etiam caelo ipso sublimiora quaepiam uesti[ga]uit et in
extimo mundi tergo stetit. scit me uera dicere Maximus, qui $TO\N
U(PER$OURA/NION TO/PON& et $OU)RANOU= NW=TON& legit in Phaedro
diligenter. idem Maximus optime intellegit, ut de nomine etiam uobis respondeam, quisnam
sit ille non a me primo, sed a Platone $BASILEU/S& nuncupatus: $PERI\ TO\N
PA/NTWN BASILE/A $PA/NT' E)STI\ KAI\ E)KEI/NOU E(/NEKA PA/NTA&
Who might this lord be,
the cause, reason, and initial origin of all the things in nature,
highest begetter of the spirit,
eternal savior of living things,
careful craftsman of his own universe, but, indeed, a craftsman without effort,
a savior without anxiety, a begetter without propagation,
bound not by place or by time or by any misfortune,
and so a few may understand him, but no one can describe him in words?
quisnam sit ille basileus, totius rerum naturae causa et ratio et origo initialis, summus animi
genitor, aeternus animantum sospitator, assiduus mundi sui opifex, sed enim sine opera
opifex, sine cura sospitator, sine propagatione genitor, neque loco neque tempore neque
uice ulla comprehensus eoque paucis cogitabilis, nemini effabilis.
I will further increase the suspicion of magic: I don't answer you, Aemilianus, about whom I honor as king, but even if the proconsul himself asks me what my god is, I am silent.
en ultro augeo magiae
suspicionem: non respondeo tibi, Aemiliane, quem colam $BASILE/A&; quin si ipse
proconsul interroget, quid sit deus meus, taceo.
 I've said enough about the name for the moment. Furthermore, I know that some people standing around
me want to hear why I wanted the image made, not out of silver or gold, but specifically out of wood, and I think
they want to know this not so much to forgive me as to understand. In this way they may be freed from their
misgivings when they see all suspicion of criminality thoroughly refuted. So let anyone who wants to know listen,
but with an alert and attentive spirit (so far as you are able) -- as if you were about to hear the words of Plato,
by now an old man, from the last book of his Laws:
De nomine ut inpraesentiarum satis dixi. quod superest, nec ipse sum nescius quosdam
circumstantium cupere audire, cur non argento uel auro, sed potissimum ex ligno
simulacrum fieri uoluerim, idque eos arbitror non tam ignoscendi quam cognoscendi causa
desiderare, ut hoc etiam scrupulo liberentur, cum uideant omnem suspicionem criminis
abunde confutatam. audi igitur cui cura cognoscere est, sed animo quantum potes erecto
et attento, quasi uerba ipsa Platonis iam senis de nouissimo legum libro auditurus:
"It befits the moderate man to offer moderate votive-offerings to the gods. The land and the household hearth of
all people are sacred to all the gods; therefore let no one dedicate other sacred things to the gods."
QEOI=SIN DE\ A)NAQH/MATA XREW\N E)/MMETRA TO\N ME/TRION A)/NDRA A)NATIQE/NTA
DWREI=SQAI. GH= ME\N OU)=N E(STI/A TE OU)KH/SEWS I(ERA\ PA=SI PA/NTWN QEW=N:
MHDEI\S OU)=N DEUTE/RWS I(ERA\ KAQIEROU/TW QEOI=S
With this he forbids that anyone dare to establish sanctuaries privately, for he believes public temples are
sufficient for citizens to perform sacrifices. Then he adds:
hoc eo prohibet, ut delubra
nemo audeat priuatim constituere; censet enim satis esse ciuibus ad immolandas uictimas
templa publica -- deinde subnectit:
"Gold and silver, both privately and in temples in the other cities, are things which cause envy; and ivory, from a
body which has left behind its soul, is not a pure offering; iron and bronze are tools of warfare; but whoever
wishes may offer a single piece of wood, or similarly of stone."
XRUSO\S DE\ KAI\ A)/RGUROS E)N A)/LLAIS PO/LESIN I)DI/A| KAI\ E)N I(EROI=S E)STIN
E)PI/FQONON KTH=MA, E)LE/FAS DE\ A)PO\ LELOIPO/TOS YUXH\N SW/MATOS OU)K EU)/XARI
A)NA/QHMA, SI/DHROS DE\ KAI\ XALKO\S POLE/MWN O)/RGANA: CU/LOU DE\ MONO/CULON
O(/ TI A)\N QE/LH| TIS A)NATIQE/TW, KAI\ LI/QOU W(SAU/TWS.
As the general agreement has declared, Maximus, and you who sit in council, I seem to have used Plato, whose
laws you see me obeying, very competently, both as a teacher of my life and as an advocate for my case.
ut omnium assensus declarauit, Maxime quique in consilio
estis, competentissime uideor usus Platone ut uitae magistro, ita causae patrono, cuius
legibus obedientem me uidetis.